August 2017 – Vol. 11, Issue 8

 In This Issue…

  • Magnesium supplementation quells inflammation, but only in some
  • Low vitamin D during pregnancy may thwart baby’s development
  • Case report of maternal B12 deficiency passed on to infant
  • B vitamins may alleviate migraine, but only in combination
  • Zinc/ copper balance may be the key to healthy cognitive function

CLINICAL UPDATE – Magnesium supplementation quells inflammation, but only in some
A newly published meta-analysis shows that magnesium supplementation does not lower the inflammation biomarker known as C-reactive protein (CRP) in people who already have low levels of CRP.  However, in those individuals whose CRP levels were above 3 mg/L, which is commonly accepted as a level indicative of chronic inflammation, magnesium supplementation did in fact lower CRP significantly.  CRP, which increased in response to both acute and systemic inflammation, is strongly linked to heart disease and other inflammatory conditions.  This review evaluated 11 different randomized controlled trials and concluded that magnesium supplements may have a beneficial role in the management of low-grade chronic systemic inflammation.
          (Current Pharmaceutical Design, May 2017)
          LINK to ABSTRACT
Effect of magnesium supplementation on plasma C-reactive protein concentrations: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.


CLINICAL UPDATE – Low vitamin D during pregnancy may thwart baby’s development
In a landmark study called ALSPAC (for Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children), thousands of women in Avon, England and their children born in 1991 and 1992 were evaluated for several years.  The cohort study (also known as the Children of the 90s study) measured vitamin D levels during pregnancy on 7065 mothers. Their children were then evaluated for various physical and cognitive developmental markers including gross-motor skills, fine-motor skills, intelligence and reading.  Children of vitamin D deficient mothers (defined as serum vitamin D below 50 nmol/l) were more likely to score in the lowest quartile in both motor and social development in the first four years of life leading the authors to conclude “prevention of vitamin D deficiency may be important for preventing suboptimal development” early in life.
          (British Journal of Nutrition, June 2017)
LINK to ABSTRACT Association between maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood: results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).



CLINICAL UPDATE – Case report of maternal B12 deficiency passed on to infant
In this case report, a 9-month old infant girl was admitted to a hospital in London after showing developmental delays.  Lab testing revealed that the baby had abnormally low red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets (pancytopenia). Her vitamin B12, which is a cofactor for blood cell synthesis, was at levels so low it was undetectable.  Consequently, vitamin B12 injections were given to the infant that resulted in a notable improvement in developmental milestones.  When the mother was tested, she was also severely deficient in vitamin B12, which researchers concluded she had passed to her infant since the baby was not yet weaned.  This case highlights the need for better guidelines for assessing micronutrient deficiencies during pregnancy, especially in women who show signs of anemia.
          (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2017)
LINK to ABSTRACT An infant and mother with severe B12 deficiency: vitamin B12 status assessment should be determined in pregnant women with anaemia.


CLINICAL UPDATE – B vitamins may alleviate migraine, but only in combination
            In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 95 migraine sufferers were divided into three treatment groups:  (1) folic acid plus vitamin B6, (2) folic acid only or (3) placebo.  During the three month trial, patients recorded how often they had migraines, how long the migraines lasted and the severity with which they occurred.  Only the group receiving folate plus vitamin B6 – compared to folate alone or placebo – showed a significant decrease in all headache parameters – frequency, severity and duration.  This suggests that depletion of B vitamins could possibly increase risk of migraine and that the synergistic effects of micronutrients, especially B vitamins, should not be underestimated.
          (Nutrition, June 2017)
          LINK to ABSTRACT
The effects of folic acid and pyridoxine supplementation on characteristics of migraine attacks in migraine patients with aura: A double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled, clinical trial.



CLINICAL UPDATE – Zinc/ copper balance may be the key to healthy cognitive function
            Because this was an animal study, researchers could precisely manipulate and consequently correlate blood and brain levels of zinc and copper and with age and cognitive function.  Specifically, they measured the effect of zinc supplementation on short-term memory, long-term memory and spatial memory. In addition, they measured zinc and copper levels in both the blood and the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain linked to memory.
            The authors discovered that as the rats got older, their blood levels of copper increased while blood levels of zinc decreased with simultaneous decreases in memory.  However, supplementation with zinc reversed the elevated copper levels and improved memory in all areas.   It is well established that zinc and copper work together and that balance of the minerals is important.  In fact, excess zinc supplementation may possibly induce a copper deficiency, so although this study concludes “zinc as a plausible therapeutic intervention” for age-related cognitive decline, this study reminds us that micronutrients do not work alone but in balance so a comprehensive look at nutritional status is key.
          (Behavioral Brain Research, August 2017)
LINK to ABSTRACT Supplementation with zinc in rats enhances memory and reverses an age-dependent increase in plasma copper.