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June 2013 - Volume 7, Issue 6


In this issue...

-  Defective tryptophan metabolism: a link to autism?

-  Vitamin E linked to higher bone density

-  Jury is still out when it comes to calcium supplements

-  Study says less than 25% of blood donors have adequate B vitamins

-  CoQ10 gives Olympians more strength

-  Vitamin D helps muscles recover after workout






CLINICAL UPDATE - Defective tryptophan metabolism: a link to autism?

When the white blood cells  of 137 patients with developmental disorders (some, but not all, with autism) were compared to the while blood cells of 78 normal individuals, researchers found that those low levels of  tryptophan metabolites correlated to behaviour traits of the autistic patients.   This association was seen regardless of genetic background and the authors noted that it occurred only in autistics, not in other mentally challenged patients such as those with schizophrenia or intellectual disability.  They concluded that “decreased tryptophan metabolism appears to provide a unifying biochemical basis of autism spectrum disorders.”

(Molecular Autism, June 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Decreased tryptophan metabolism in patients with autism spectrum disorders.






CLINICAL UPDATE - Vitamin E linked to higher bone density

Levels of vitamin E (α-toocpherol) in osteoporotic postmenopausal women were found to be much lower than vitamin E levels in women with normal bone density in this recent study on 232 women.  In addition, vitamin E levels were “clearly related with bone mineral density of the lumbar spine.”  This study sheds new light on the  emerging role of vitamin E in bone metabolism.

(Journal of Bone Mineral Metabolism, March 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Lower vitamin E serum levels are associated with osteoporosis in early postmenopausal women: a cross-sectional study.





CLINICAL UPDATE - Jury still out when it comes to calcium supplements

In this large prospective study of over 388,000 men and women in America, researchers found that the use of calcium supplements, but not calcium from diet, was linked to a higher risk of death from heart disease in men.  Interestingly, this association was not true for women.  Nor did the association hold up for calcium obtained from food.  Authors of the study by the National Institutes of Health did not speculate on why this may be the case but some research suggests excess calcium may depress uptake of other minerals.

(Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, April 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Dietary and Supplemental Calcium Intake and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality: The National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study.




CLINICAL UPDATE - Study says less than 25% of blood donors have adequate B vitamins

Vitamin B12 and folate were measured in 240 blood donors between the ages of 18-66 in southern Italy.  When measured in either serum or intracellularly, the level of folate was deficient in over 75% of donor blood.  Vitamin B12 deficiency was observed in over 83% of people.  Incidentally, the level of homocysteine, which needs both folate and B12 to ensure its proper metabolism, was a mean of 14.0μmol/L in this same group, a level considered high with increased risk of cardiovascular disease by most standards.

(Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, May 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine status in an Italian blood donor population.





CLINICAL UPDATE - CoQ10 gives Olympians more strength

In a double blind placebo controlled study on 100 young German athletes that were training for the 2012 Olympics (53 male, 47 female), a group of the athletes were given 300 mg coenzyme Q10 or placebo.  At the end of 6 weeks, the CoQ10 group significantly increased their power output (as measured by watts per kilogram of body weight) by 2.5% compared to placebo.

(Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, April 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Ubiquinol supplementation enhances peak power production in trained athletes: a double-blind, placebo controlled study.  LINK to FREE FULL TEXT





LINICAL UPDATE - Vitamin D helps muscles recover after workout

In a recent study, vitamin D supplements were given to lab animals for 8 weeks while  high-intensity exercise was performed 5 days a week which gradually increased in intensity.  After the workouts, enzymes indicative of muscle damage rose (specifically creatine kinase [CK] and lactate dehydrogenase[LDH]).  However, in the animals given vitamin D, the enzyme level increases were attenuated.  In a human study on female athletes, similar measures of muscle damage were seen after high intensity training  (increase in CK and LDH) and again vitamin supplements, this time vitamins C and E, attenuated these enzyme increases.  Vitamins C, D and E all helped muscle recovery after high intensity exercise.)

(Cytokine, July 2013)
(International Journal of Preventative Medicine, April 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Vitamin D3 supplementation modulates inflammatory responses from the muscle damage induced by high-intensity exercise in SD rats.
LINK to ABSTRACT The effect of vitamin C and e supplementation on muscle damage and oxidative stress in female athletes: a clinical trial..  LINK to FREE FULL TEXT