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August 2011 - Volume 5, Issue 8


In this issue...

- Government implements large study on functional micronutrient status

- Antioxidant treatment elongates telomeres

- Breast cancer: Not all B vitamins created equal

- New role discovered for vitamin C in eyes and brain

- Folic acid link to post-natal depression may be genetic

- Correcting vitamin D deficiency in statin users resolved muscle pain






CLINICAL UPDATE - government implements large study on functional micronutrient status

The National Institutes of Health, which is a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, has assembled an expert team of scientists to evaluate the “use of biomarkers that reflect nutrient exposure, status and functional effect” with the ultimate goal of “global health promotion and disease prevention.”  The program is called the BOND program – Biomarkers of Nutrition for Development – and a conference held in June 2011 was held that outlined goals of the program, such as the inclusion of  five nutrients specifically chosen for review of available biomarkers: vitamin A, vitamin B12, folate, iron and zinc.

(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Executive summary--Biomarkers of Nutrition for Development: Building a Consensus.





CLINICAL UPDATE - antioxidant treatment elongates telomeres

In two separate animal studies, treatment of cells with antioxidants reduced the attrition rate of telomeres.  Specifically, one study showed that N-acetyl cysteine partially corrected the accumulation of telomere-related DNA damage in cells.  In another study, a deficiency in the powerful antioxidant superoxide dismutase negatively affected telomeres.

(Aging Cell, April 2011)

(Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, April 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Accelerated hematopoietic stem cell aging in a mouse model of dyskeratosis congenita responds to antioxidant treatment.

LINK to ABSTRACT Antioxidant therapy attenuates myocardial telomerase activity reduction in superoxide dismutase-deficient mice.





CLINICAL UPDATE - breast cancer: not all b vitamins created equal

B vitamin levels (folate, B3, B6 and B12)  were estimated in over 72,000 women between the ages of 40 and 70 in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study in China.  Women with the highest dietary folate intake had a 40% lower chance of developing breast cancer, but only for premenopausal women.  Interestingly, researchers found that higher vitamin B3 (niacin) intake was associated with an increased risk of hormone-sensitive breast cancer, which is the most common type in the United States.

(American Journal of Epidemiology, May 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Dietary B vitamin and methionine intakes and breast cancer risk among Chinese women.




CLINICAL UPDATE - new role discovered for vitamin C in eyes and brain

Researchers discovered that vitamin C is a key nutrient needed to keep retinal cells functioning properly, and they speculate these benefits extend throughout the nervous system. Specifically, special receptors (called GABA-type receptors) in the eye and brain stop working properly when vitamin C is not present.  These receptors facilitate communication between brain cells by keeping neurons in the brain from getting overly excited, which may explain the depressive symptoms seen in people with gross vitamin C deficiency known as scurvy.

(Journal of Neuroscience, June 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Allosteric Modulation of Retinal GABA Receptors by Ascorbic Acid.





CLINICAL UPDATE - folic acid link to post-natal depression may be genetic

Folic acid supplements during pregnancy might help protect against worsening depression up to 21 months after giving birth, especially in women with the MTHFR genotype that influences folate metabolism.

(European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2011)


LINK to ABSTRACT Folic acid supplementation during pregnancy may protect against  21 months after pregnancy, an effect modified by MTHFR C677T genotype.




CLINICAL UPDATE - correcting vitamin d defiency in statin users resolved muscle pain

In 150 patients that were unable to tolerate statins because of myalgia (muscle pain), vitamin D was given to correct potential vitamin D deficiency.  After 3 weeks on 50,000 IU of vitamin D, statins were restarted.  After 8 months of statin usage once vitamin D deficiencies were corrected, 87% of the patients who were unable to initially tolerate statins were free from muscle pain and could tolerate statin usage.

(Current Medical Research and Opinion, July 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Vitamin D deficiency, myositis-myalgia, and reversible statin intolerance.