Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Lifestyle & Health, Nutrition, Vegetarians / 30.05.2023 Interview with: JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, MACP Chief, Division of Preventive Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Professor of Medicine and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women's Health Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts  02215 What is the background for this study?  Any particular types of vitamins, ie with/without iron etc? Response: Preserving memory and cognitive health is a high priority for most mid-life and older adults.  However, few strategies have been rigorously tested in randomized clinical trials and shown to have cognitive benefits. Nutritional approaches hold promise because the brain requires several nutrients for optimal health, and deficiencies in one or more of these nutrients may lead to accelerated memory loss and cognitive decline. The COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), a large-scale nation-wide randomized trial of multivitamins and cocoa flavanols had recently reported that multivitamins slowed global cognitive decline and memory loss (in COSMOS-Mind). The current study was a 2nd parallel trial, a collaboration between Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Columbia University, looking at a web-based assessment of the role of a  standard multivitamin and of cocoa flavanols in slowing age-related memory loss. The report in AJCN is on the multivitamin-cognition findings. The multivitamin tested was Centrum silver for adults (without iron). (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Chocolate, Heart Disease, Supplements / 16.03.2022 Interview with: Howard D. Sesso, ScD, MPH Associate Professor of Medicine Division of Preventive Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital  What is the background for this study? How does the amount of flavanols in the study arm compare to what might be obtained in a typical diet? Response: The COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial that tested the effects of two promising dietary supplements on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer in 21,442 older adults. Cocoa flavanols have been shown to have favorable vascular effects in small and short-term clinical trials. The 500 mg/day flavanols tested in COSMOS exceeds that readily obtained in the diet typically from cocoa, tea, grapes, and berries. Of note, flavanol content in not typically listed on food labels. COSMOS also tested a multivitamin, the most common dietary supplement taken by US adults and previously linked with a potential modest reduction in cancer in a previous long-term trial of men conducted by our research group at the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Supplements, Vitamin C, Vitamin D / 09.07.2019 Interview with: Safi UKhan, MD Department of Internal Medicine Robert Packer Hospital Sayre, PA 18840 What is the background for this study? Response: There is substantial body of observational data favoring use of vitamins, supplements and special diets for improving cardiovascular health. However, such type of data is limited by various biases. Randomized controlled trial (RCT) is considered gold standard to evaluate effects of a therapy.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Hip Fractures, JAMA, Supplements / 13.05.2019 Interview with: Prof. Haakon E Meyer, PhD Department of Public Health and Global Health Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo, Norway What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The use of high dose vitamin supplementation is popular in parts of the population, often without any clear indication and in the absence of clear evidence of benefit. However, side effects can occur, and in a previous published secondary analysis of double blinded randomized controlled trials, we found to our surprise an increased risk of hip fracture in those supplemented with high doses of vitamin B6 in combination with vitamin B12. This finding was re-assessed in the current study employing data from the large observational Nurses' Health Study. As in the previous study, we found that a combined high intake of vitamin B6 and B12 was associated with increased risk of hip fracture. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Supplements / 31.05.2018 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Sleep Disorders / 01.05.2018 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 1.0Dr Denholm Aspy PhD School of Psychology University of Adelaide 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. (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews / 07.03.2018 Interview with: Emily Clarke McGowan, MD Assistant Professor, Allergy/Clinical Immunology Charlottesville, VA 22908-1355 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.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Supplements / 06.01.2018 Interview with: “Pills Vitamins Macro April 22, 2012 4” by Steven Depolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Nutrition, Vitamin C, Vitamin D / 18.12.2017 Interview with: “vitamins” by Colin Mutchler is licensed under CC BY 2.0Priv.-Doz. Dr. Barbara Thorand  Helmholtz Zentrum München German Research Center for Environmental Health Institute of Epidemiology II Neuherberg, Germany 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, BMJ, Nutrition / 14.10.2017 Interview with: Elizabeth DeVilbiss, PhD MPH Dornsife School of Public Health Drexel University 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Journal Clinical Oncology, Lung Cancer / 23.08.2017 Interview with: Theodore M. Brasky, PhD Research Assistant Professor The Ohio State University – James Comprehensive Cancer Center Columbus, OH 43201 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Technology, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin K / 17.01.2017 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 13.01.2017 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 28.09.2016 Interview with: Dr Sarah El-Heis MBBS, MRCP (London) Clinical Research Fellow MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit University of Southampton Southampton General Hospital Southampton 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Science, Stem Cells / 29.04.2016 Interview with: Keir Menzies PhD Assistant Professor University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute University of Ottawa 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Coffee, Fertility, Lifestyle & Health, NIH, OBGYNE / 24.03.2016 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. 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. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Autism, Mental Health Research, PLoS, Schizophrenia / 25.01.2016 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE / 10.09.2015

Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition, Vitamin C / 14.07.2014

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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, NIH, Omega-3 Fatty Acids / 19.03.2014 Interview with: Denise Bonds, MD, MPH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) 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. (more…)