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NOTES ADDED TO NUTRITION INVESTIGATOR WEBSITE SUMMER, 2009

This information was obtained from various meetings, readings, and reader emails investigated during the past 12 months. In this email are keywords.  The longer explanations are on this page.  Here you can also find links to the longer pages to which they have been added. 

NPR Program: Subject: Love, Happiness, Consciousness http://www.wpr.org/book/090412a.cfm (Link: happiness; Source NPR; added 6/2009)

Diet Guidance "Cutting back on all types of fat and eating extra carbohydrate will do little to protect against heart disease and will ultimately harm some people.  Instead, replacing saturated fats [red meat] with unsaturated fats
[fish, vegetable oils, esp olive] is a safe, proven, and delicious way to cut the rates of heart disease."
1. avoid transfats, margarine, hydrogenated oils in most cookies
2. avoid simple carbohydrates - sugar, pop, white bread...
3. get unsat'd fats - fish oil, vegetable oils
The fats make you feel full, the carbos leave you feeling hungry, the basis of the Atkins diet.
(Link: Diet Guidance: Source: Eat Drink and Be Healthy, by Walter Willett and Harvard School of Public Health, a 1999 popular nutrition book absolutely worth reading, used as a text in my course this fall: added 6/2009)

DIET AND CANCER
Notes on foods related to cancer- apples, broccoli, walnuts reduce risk and growth of cancers (from 2009 AGE meeting) , Fish and omega-3s (from Juvenon Newsletter- The subjects with aggressive prostate cancer reported consuming, on average, significantly less fish per week, as compared to the cancer-free controls.)  Fluoridated water increases risk of bone cancer 5.5x (http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20060406/does-fluoridation-up-bone-cancer-risk) (link: cancer; added 6/2009)

MULTIVITAMINS - [written by Dr. Bruce Ames] Ten years ago I proposed that the risk of cancer was increased by chronic, suboptimal consumption of micronutrients (approximately 40 essentail minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids) and that this should be easily remediable. …In 2006, I proposed the "triage theory", which provides a unifying rationale for expanding my original proposal t include a causal link between micronutrient deficiencies and chronic disease. [I want to provide justification for] implementation of inexpensive public health programs that can significantly reduce chronic disease incidence and increase life span.  Triage theory posits that when supply of a micronutrient is inadequate, nature selects for a rebalancing of metabolism….that ensures survival of the organism at the expense of less critical metabolism… High consumption of calorie-rich, micronutrient-poor unbalanced diets exacerbates the problem…There is little societal concern because no overt patho9logies have been associated with marginal to modertate levels of deficiency.  The triage theory predicts that the pathology is insidious…[Three measurable consequences are likely to be] increased DNA damage (future cancer), immune dysfunction (future severe infection…) and mitochondrial decay (future cognitive dysfunction and accelerated brain aging). (Link: Multivitamins: Source: Bruce Ames  "Foreward: Prevention of Cancer, and the Other Degenerative Diseases of Aging, Through Nutrition"; added 6/2009)

MULTIVITAMINS: The Archives of Internal Medicine recently stated multivitamin use had no benefit.  "I believe nothing could be further from the truth."  The study was an observational study, not a randomized controlled trial.  Note that 90% of the US does not meet the recommended dietary intake for vitamin E, 40% for vitamin A, 30% for vitamin C, and 50% for magnesium. And most are deficient in vitamin D.  The study author wrote :Multivitamins may still be useful as a form of [health] insurance for people with poor eating habits."  And multivitamin formulations vary considerably. (Link: Multivitamins: Source: Linus Pauling Institute Research Newsletter Spring/Summer 2009; added 6/2009)

VITAMIN C: Vitamin C is found not only in plasma but in high millimolar concentrations in cells and tissues.  It is not a pro-oxidant at any dose taken orally.  People with high cholesterol have impaired vascular function, hypertension, and vitamin C can provide significant benefit - doses of 500 mg twice a day lowers blood pressure by 10 points in mild hypertension.  Tea helps too, but probably by a different mechanism.  VC supplement use is associated with lower heart disease and cancer risk, and may reduce inflammation and CRP levels.  Balz Frei, head of LPI, believes the RDA and UL are too low.  Flavanoids from fruits and vegetables are fine, but not nearly as effective as vitamin C at trapping free radicals.  On the JAMA studies on hazards of vitamins C and E, LPI states unequivocally that those reports were interpreted inaccurately by the media.  In fact, many studies have "reported benefits for supplemental vitamins C and E in the prevention and treatment of heart disease and cancer." (Link: Vitamin C: Vitamin E; Source: Linus Pauling Institute Research Newsletter Spring/Summer 2009; added 6/2009)

Vitamins D and K help cardiac rhythm. Vitamin K activates the protein osteocalcin, which strengthens bone mass, but decalcifies soft tissues like arterial walls reducing blood pressure. (link: vitamin D and vitamin K; blood pressure; source: LPI meeting 2009; added 6/2009)

A recent study found that patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease consumed less vitamin K than did cognitively intact control subjects. (J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Dec;108(12):2095-9). (Link: vitamin K and Alzheimers; Source: Alzheimers newsletter:
http://www.healthandage.com/html/min/iananda/newsletter.htm; added 6/2009)

Higher fish consumption is associated with better cognitive function in later life. (J Nutr Health Aging. 2009;13(3):198-202) (Link: fish and Alzheimers; Source: Alzheimers newsletter:
http://www.healthandage.com/html/min/iananda/newsletter.htm; added 6/2009)

Stroke is a well-known risk factor for vascular dementia. Systolic blood pressure >140 was most strongly associated with prevalent memory impairment  Other associated risk factors included non-white race, male gender, age, education <or=12 years, and history of any alcohol use.  Among transient ischemic attacks symptoms, self-reported weakness in the face, arm, or leg was significantly associated with memory impairment. (Link: blood pressure and Alzheimers; Source: Alzheimers newsletter:
http://www.healthandage.com/html/min/iananda/newsletter.htm; added 6/2009)

 Coffee drinking at midlife is associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD later in life. After an average follow-up of 21 years, 1409 individuals (71%) aged 65 to 79 completed the re-examination in 1998. A total of 61 cases were identified as demented (48 with AD). Coffee drinkers at midlife had lower risk of dementia and AD later in life compared with those drinking no or only a little coffee. The lowest risk (65% decreased) was found in people who drank 3-5 cups per day. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 Jan;16(1):85-91)
(Link: Coffee and Alzheimers; Source: Alzheimers newsletter:
http://www.healthandage.com/html/min/iananda/newsletter.htm; added 6/2009)

Fructose increases cholesterol levels, glucose decreases them. (link: soda pop; source: LPI meeting 2009; added 6/2009)

LIPOIC ACID:  Lipoic acid may positively affect the hippocampus, associated with memory.  In mice, it reduces weight, improves muscle mass, and lowers triglycerides.  They are doing a clinical trial where people take 600 mg a day, in the morning on an empty stomach.  So people could experience dizziness initially. (Link: Lipoic acid: Source: Linus Pauling Institute Research Newsletter Spring/Summer 2009; added 6/2009)

POTATOES
Does it matter whether one eats a sweet potato or a white potato? "Glycemic Index" is a measure of the potential hazard from the carbohydrates when you eat a particular food based, on 50 grams of Useable Carbs from that food.  Glycemic Load is the application of the glycemic index to a standard serving of particular food, which might be more or less than 50 grams of carbs. The higher the glycemic load of a food, the more likely it is to cause you to develop diabetes eventually.  The  Glycemic Load of a Sweet Potato is 17.  The Glycemic Load of a baked potato is  26.  For comparison, glycemic load of white rice is 30, glycemic load of an apple is 6.
The fiber content of a baked potato is 4.2 grams/serving.  A sweet potato has 4. I have not been able to find why the Glycemic Load of a sweet potato is so much lower, thus healthier to eat, in addition to having vitamins and minerals lacking in a white potato.

Though vitamin content can vary with different varieties, an average-sized sweet potato tuber contains a whopping 15,000 international units of vitamin A and about half as much vitamin C as an orange. Added to that are worthwhile amounts of protein, calcium, magnesium, iron and carotene, and practically no fat. In fact, sweet potatoes are one of the few vegetables capable of providing the full nutritional needs of human beings.  In Japan, where sweet potatoes are the second most important crop, they've long been a popular ingredient both in stir-fry and tempura dishes.

The Potato is an edible starchy tuber. It is produced by certain plants of a genus of the nightshade family, especially the common white potato (Solanum tuberosum).

Unrelated genetically is the sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas; family Convolvulaceae, which is native to tropical America.
(Link: Potatoes; added 6/2009)

Do organic fruits and vegetables have more nutrition than regular ones? 
They claim organic apples have 63% more calcium, 73% more iron, 118% more magnesium,, more molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.  Organic meats are leaner and have 5x the omega-3s. (link: organic, meat; source: organic newsletter; added 6/2009)

Arginine is a nitric oxide donor and vasodilator.  Take 1-3 g/day, based on LPI meeting. In a few people, arginine causes constipation.  Arginine also increases herpes virus cold sores. In that case, co-administer lysine which decreases cold sores. (link: arginine; source: LPI meeting 2009; added 6/2009)

MELATONIN
There is clearly controversy about how much melatonin to take, and how effective it is.  There are many publications and studies with conflicting results.  I am especially interested in sleep, because it is another of the
areas of life that science has made little progress in understanding. For instance, we still do not understand why people need to sleep, though total sleep deprivation leads to serious harm.

1. EFFICACY: http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/epcsums/melatsum.htm
Study states sleep disorders affect 50-70 million people in the US.  This multicener review by NIH concluded that " The magnitude of this effect appears to be clinically insignificant. There was evidence of possible
publication bias in the selection of studies that were analyzed; we found a greater number of studies reporting positive results compared to negative results...Melatonin increased sleep efficiency in normal sleepers"

2. DOSAGE: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2001/melatonin-1017.html
One study announcement from MIT suggests that 0.3mg is an ideal dosage, and that 3 mg can have serious side effects, like hypothermia.
(link: Melatonin; added 6/2009)

CALORIC RESTRICTION (CR) HELPS MEMORY - If you get the Juvenon newsletter issued by Benjamin Treadwell (2009), you would have read of a caloric restriction study of 50 people mean age 60.5 years.  Those on CR, a 30% decrease in calories for 3 months, had measurable increases in memory, and decreases in insulin and CRP (inflammation) levels. The nutrient resveratrol, specifically the active trans-resveratrol form, seems to have that potential. Animal studies have produced encouraging results. Whether these results will translate to humans remains to be determined. Read the full article here.
(link: Caloric Restriction; source: Juvenon newsletter; added 6/2009)

 

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