In This Issue….                                                                          

-   Comprehensive study concludes chromium benefits diabetics
-   Does Vitamin D work better than anti-depressant meds?
-   Study shows heart gets stronger with Vitamin D
-   Low dose folic acid lowers homocysteine says study
-   Does too much folic acid raise breast cancer risk?
-   What is Magnesium’s relationship to CRP?

CLINICAL UPDATE – Comprehensive study concludes chromium benefits diabetics

In this systematic review, 25 randomized controlled trials were reviewed that evaluated the effect chromium had on blood sugar control. Only studies that measured fasting plasma glucose or HbA1c were included. Of the 25 studies, 22 evaluated chromium only (monosupplementation), while 2 studies evaluated chromium plus biotin and one study evaluated chromium plus vitamin C and E.

Chromium, at levels above 200 μg daily, improved glycemic control by lowering HbA1c by over 0.5%. In addition, chromium improved the diabetics’ lipid profile by reducing triglycerides and increasing HDL cholesterol levels. No risk of adverse events were seen between chromium and placebo in the trials.
(Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, June 2014)

LINK to ABSTRACT Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of chromium supplementation in diabetes. 

CLINICAL UPDATE – Does vitamin D work better than anti-depressant meds?

A review of 15 clinical trials that evaluated the effect of vitamin D supplements on the treatment of depression explicitly listed the reasons why many studies on vitamin D and depression are inconclusive, which the authors refer to as biologically flawed. Specifically, of the 15 studies reviewed, 8 were found to have biological flaws and 7 were found to be well designed and not flawed. When reviewing the studies that were not flawed, the authors stated that “Vitamin D has therapeutic effects in depression.” When reviewing the studies that were flawed, the authors stated that the results were mainly inconclusive.

Biological flaws in the reviewed studies included, but were not limited, to the following: (1) baseline vitamin D was not measured so a change in vitamin D status could not be assessed, (2) vitamin D levels were not actually increased in patients, (3) or doses were inappropriate (i.e. 200IU).   In studies that were not biologically flawed according to the authors, vitamin D supplementation in doses of at least 800IU daily, were somewhat favourable in the management of depression. They further state that “the effect size was comparable to that of anti-depressant medication.”
(Nutrients, April 2014)

LINK to ABSTRACT Vitamin D and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing studies with and without biological flaws. LINK to FREE FULL TEXT 

CLINICAL UPDATE – Study shows heart gets stronger with vitamin D

In this randomized, placebo controlled, double-blinded trial, 23 elderly patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure (average age 74 years) were given 4000IU of vitamin D daily or placebo for six months. Ejection fraction, which is a measure of how efficiently the heart can pump blood to the rest of the body, was evaluated as well as several other cardiovascular related markers. After six months, ejection fraction increased by 7% in those taking vitamin D while it decreased by 4% in those on placebo. Blood pressure was also lowered in those taking vitamin D.
(Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease, 2014, Epub ahead of print)

LINK to ABSTRACT Effects of six months of vitamin D supplementation in patients with heart failure: A randomized double-blind controlled trial.

CLINICAL UPDATE – Low dose folic acid lowers homocysteine says study

124 men and women with risk factors for atherosclerosis were given low dose folic acid supplementation (0.4mg/day) for twelve weeks. At the end of the trial, levels of homocysteine (known to be atherosclerotic) dropped 22% in women and 19% in men.   Low density lipoprotein cholesterol also dropped 7% and 5% in women and men respectively, leading authors to conclude “low-dose folic acid supplementation has a beneficial effect on blood lipids.”
(Medical Science Monitor, September 2013)

LINK to ABSTRACT Association between low-dose folic acid supplementation and blood lipids concentrations in male and female subjects with atherosclerosis risk factors. LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

CLINICAL UPDATE – Does too much folic acid raise breast cancer risk?

Previous research has shown that folic acid may prevent the development of cancer in normal tissues but its effect on existing tumors has remained unclear. This animal study investigated whether folic acid supplements promote the progression of existing breast cancer tumors. Folic acid supplements were given for 12 weeks at three different dosages to animals with existing breast cancer lesions. The authors stated that “although no clear dose-response relationship was observed, folic acid significantly promoted the progression of [established] mammary tumors.” Although the benefits of folic acid have been well established, especially in childbearing women, this study underscores the benefit of targeted versus blind supplementation for individuals.
(Public Library of Science, 2014)

LINK to ABSTRACT Folic acid supplementation promotes mammary tumor progression in a rat model.

CLINICAL UPDATE – What is magnesium’s relationship to CRP?

In this review of seven large studies on magnesium intake and levels of the common marker for systemic inflammation – C-reactive protein, over 32,000 people were included. Researchers found a significant inverse relationship between magnesium intake and CRP levels and concluded that this is likely due to magnesium’s well-established role in inhibiting inflammation.
(European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2014)

LINK to ABSTRACT Dietary magnesium intake is inversely associated with serum C-reactive protein levels: meta-analysis and systematic review.