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Should all newborns receive a one-time injection of 400 μg vitamin B12? The elderly have long been considered the primary target group for improved cobalamin nutrition. Cobalamin insufficiency has been associated with a variety of neurodegenerative conditions in this demographic group (1). However, there is mounting evidence that cobalamin deficiency is also associated with neurodevelopmental morbidity during infancy (2). In a simple, well-designed, randomized double-blind interventional trial reported in this issue of the Journal, Torsvik et al (3) provide plausible evidence that some of the vexing feeding problems related to neuromuscular coordination that are encountered in fussy infants are amenable to correction by a single intramuscular injection of hydroxycobalamin. the authors show that states of suboptimal cobalamin nutritional status in infants as judged by elevated concentrations of homocysteine are associated with functional motor impairment (feeding difficulties). After repletion with a one-time injection of 400 μg hydroxycobalamin, the authors reported short-term improvement, both with respect to feeding problems and more globally in gross motor development. On the basis of these findings, and considering that there is no safe upper limit defined for cobalamin (4), should all infants receive a shot of cobalamin, or should only infants with feeding difficulties or motor problems receive such treatment?

Blueberry flavanoids improve vascular function - Blueberry intake acutely improves vascular function in healthy men in a time- and intake-dependent manner. Evidence has suggested that polyphenol-rich foods may exert cardiovascular health benefits, with randomized, controlled human-intervention trials indicating a positive effect of such foods on several well-characterized cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, including endothelial dysfunction, hypertension, lipid metabolism, and platelet activity.

Choline and vitamin B12 needs increase during pregnancy - This study shows that maternal vitamin B-12 status is related to choline status in late gestation in a folate-replete population and may be a determinant of infant growth even in the absence of undernutrition. The proportion of women with a plasma total vitamin B-12 concentration <148 pmol/L (deficient) or 148–220 pmol/L (marginal) increased with pregnancy and pregnancy duration, which affected 3% and 9% of nonpregnant women, 10% and 21% of women at 16 wk of gestation, and 23% and 35% of women at 36 wk of gestation.

Too much weight gain during pregnancy is hazardous -The prevalence of inadequate, adequate, and excessive GWG was 22% (107/478), 30% (145/478), and 47% (226/478), respectively. Abdominal obesity was defined as waist circumference (WC) >88 cm. Excessive GWG is associated with long-term maternal abdominal adiposity, which may increase a woman's risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

Telephone support increases duration of breast-feeding - The support group breastfed exclusively for a median of 120 d (25th–75th percentiles: 14–142 d) compared with 41 d (3–133 d) for control subjects. Telephone-based advisory support was very effective in prolonging breastfeeding in obese mothers who often terminate the breastfeeding of their infants prematurely. A longer duration of breastfeeding may decrease risk of noncommunicable diseases in these infants. 

 Calcium and vitamin E suppress cured-meat promotion of colon cancer - Processed meat intake has been associated with increased colorectal cancer risk. Data suggest that the addition of calcium carbonate to the diet or α-tocopherol to cured meat may reduce colorectal cancer risk.

DASH and Mediterranean Diet boost cognitive function - Higher levels of accordance with both the DASH and Mediterranean dietary patterns were associated with consistently higher levels of cognitive function in elderly men and women over an 11-y period. Whole grains and nuts and legumes were positively associated with higher cognitive functions and may be core neuroprotective foods common to various healthy plant-centered diets around the globe.

Increase fruit, veggies, and potassium to reduce hypertension - Potassium intake is low in NYC adults, especially in lower socioeconomic groups. Innovative programs that increase fruit and vegetable intake may help increase dietary potassium and reduce hypertension-related disease.

Vitamin C reduces risk of gastric cancer - For gastric adenocarcinoma, each 20-μmol/L increase in plasma vitamin C was associated with a 14% decrease in risk. 500mg vitamin C twice a day raises vitamin C level to 80-μmol/L, reducing risk 56%.

Skipping breakfast may not matter that much - Various intentional and unintentional factors influence beliefs beyond what scientific evidence justifies. We investigated the proposition that skipping breakfast causes weight gain. The current body of scientific knowledge indicates that this is only presumed true. The observational literature has gratuitously established the association, but not the causal relation, between skipping breakfast and obesity.

A good diet also strengthens your bones - Dietary guidelines for CVD risk reduction may also benefit bone health. Full article including all American Heart Association diet recommendations.

Main cause of exercise is your environment, not your DNA - The between-individual variation in daily physical activity and sedentary behavior is mainly a result of environmental influences, not genetic factors. Main cause of diet is your environment, not your DNA - Shared environmental influences are the predominant drivers of dietary intake in very young children, indicating the importance of factors such as the home food environment and parental behaviors.

Calcium supplements may harm postmenopausal women - Calcium supplementation in postmenopausal women with dyslipidemia increases serum total cholesterol concentrations and carotid intima-media thickness.

- Roc, Nutrition Investigator
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Unassisted discovery does not benefit learners. SciAmMind Sept/Oct 2013

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