October 2016 – Vol. 10, Issue 10

In This Issue…

  • Could a father’s lack of selenium increase his daughter’s risk of breast cancer?
  • Calcium may be helpful or harmful for arteries depending on its source, says study
  • Researchers one step closer to developing a laboratory test for diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome
  • High dose biotin alleviates symptoms of MS
  • Supplement use in the United States remains strong


 CLINICAL UPDATE – Could a father’s lack of selenium increase his daughter’s risk of breast cancer?
          In this interesting animal study, male rats were fed one of the following three diets: (1) a control (normal) diet, (2) a selenium-deficient diet or (3) a diet supplemented with selenium.  After nine weeks, the male rats were bred with female control rats and their female offspring were exposed to a specific carcinogen in order to induce breast cancer. They found that the daughters of the selenium-deficient rats were more susceptible to breast cancer tumors – they had a higher number of tumors and the tumors were larger.   On the other hand, selenium supplementation showed no protective effect.
          According to the authors, “these results highlight the importance of the father’s nutrition including selenium status as a relevant factor affecting daughter’s breast cancer risk” suggesting both maternal and paternal nutritional status impact the disease risk of their children.
          (International Journal of Cancer, October 2016)
          LINK to ABSTRACT
Paternal selenium deficiency but not supplementation during preconception alters mammary gland development and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-induced mammary carcinogenesis in female rat offspring.


 CLINICAL UPDATE – Calcium may be helpful or harmful for arteries depending on its source, says study
          Over 5400 adults who were free of heart disease were assessed for calcium intake from either food or supplements. Ten years later, 2742 people from the initial group were measured for coronary artery calcification (via computed tomography). Results showed that the higher the total calcium intake, the lower the risk of atherosclerosis over the long-term, but only if this calcium was achieved via food sources and not supplements. In fact, calcium supplement use was actually linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis, even though total calcium intake was linked to lower risk of calcification in the arteries. This suggests that indiscriminate supplement use can be harmful, especially for micronutrients (such as calcium) that have to be balanced with other nutrients (magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K) in order to be protective, and that a more targeted approach is warranted.  
          (Journal of the American Heart Association, October 2016)
          LINK to ABSTRACT
Calcium Intake From Diet and Supplements and the Risk of Coronary Artery Calcification and its Progression Among Older Adults: 10-Year Follow-up of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).



CLINICAL UPDATE – Researchers one step closer to developing a laboratory test for diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome
          Chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis) is notoriously difficult to diagnose since it depends on clinical presentation of esoteric symptoms that often overlap with other disorders like fibromyalgia, depression or hormone imbalances.  However, new research from the University of California sheds light on the metabolic abnormalities seen in CFS, regardless of the cause.  They state that although several factors can trigger the onset of CFS – viral infection, illness, traumatic injury, severe emotional stress or something else –the “chemical signature” in patients with CFS is strikingly similar.
          This study confirms that CFS is a hypometabolic state, similar in some ways to a type of hibernation. Specifically, most CFS patients have lower sphingolipids, which are molecules that physically protect cells via their role in the cell membrane structure and cell signaling. The low sphingolipid profile in CFS appears to be an adaptive response that may oppose viral or bacterial infections within the cell. By entering into a hypometabolic state, the cells permit survival under conditions of environmental stress but at the cost of severely curtailed function and quality of life. The authors conclude that “the finding of an objective chemical signature in CFS helps to remove diagnostic uncertainty” and although a diagnostic test has not been commercialized, they may be one step closer.
          (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 2016)
          LINK to ABSTRACT
Metabolic features of chronic fatigue syndrome
          LINK to FREE FULL TEXT



CLINICAL UPDATE – High dose biotin alleviates symptoms of MS
          154 patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis were randomized into two groups: Group 1 received 100 mg biotin three times a day for a year and Group 2 took placebo for a year.  After 12 months, both groups took biotin daily for another year.  At the end of the treatment period, symptoms were quantified by either a timed walk or a standardized disability score.  The high dose biotin (a member of the B vitamin family), which was well-tolerated with no side effects, reduced disability progression and improved the clinical status of MS patients compared to placebo. 
          (Multiple Sclerosis, September 2016)
          LINK to ABSTRACT
MD1003 (high-dose biotin) for the treatment of progressive multiple sclerosis: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.



CLINICAL UPDATE – Supplement use in the United States remains strong
          A total of 37,958 US adults were interviewed over the course of thirteen years (1999-2012) about the type and frequency in which they took supplements.  More than half of the people interviewed (52%) reported that they took some form of supplements but there was a general trend toward the use of individual supplements like vitamin D and fish oil over a multivitamin.  In fact, the use of multivitamins decreased significantly from 37% of the population to 31% of the population, while in contrast, the use of vitamin D increased from 1 in 20 people to 1 in 5 and the consumption o fish oil increased from 1 in 100 people to 1 in 8.  
          (Journal of the American Medical Association, October 2016)
          LINK to ABSTRACT
Trends in Dietary Supplement Use Among US Adults From 1999-2012.