Low Folate and B12 Linked to Severity of Fatty Liver Disease

B12-Folic Acid and Fatty Liver DiseaseResearchers have found a link in the progression of Liver Fibrosis in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and two important B Vitamins.

Over 80 patients with Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatisis (NASH), a progressive form of Non Fatty Liver Disease, participated in this study.  The average age of the study participants was 41 years old.  The study included 32 women and 51 men.  Liver biopsies were analyzed using the SAF (steatosis, activity, and fibrosis) scoring system to determine the degree of NASH in each participant.  Additionally blood levels of B12 and Folate were taken and correlations were made between the stages of the disease progression.

Researchers determined an inverse relationship existed between the grades of fibrosis (formation of scar tissue) in the liver and blood levels of Folate and Vitamin B12.  Lower serum Vitamin B12 levels were also associated with a higher severity of NASH.   Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis is known to start as a simple steatosis (the accumulation of fat cells in the liver) and then progress to NASH as scar tissue (fibrosis) occurs.

Further studies are needed in order to determine the pathological role of low Vitamin B12 and Low Folate in the development of NASH.

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Maternal Use of Folic Acid and Vitamins Linked to Reduced Autism Risk in Children

Folic Acid and Autism RiskAccording to a study done in Israel, mothers who supplement with a Multivitamin and Folic Acid, both before and during their pregnancy, reduce their child’s risk factors for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Researchers studied Israeli children born between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2007.  Participants were followed up from birth to January 26, 2015 to determine the risk of ASD.  A random sample of 33% of all live-born children were chosen, this group contained cases of all children diagnosed with ASD and a control group.  The mother’s supplement use was classified for Folic acid, Multivitamin Supplements containing Vitamins A,B,C and D and and a combination of the two groups.  Additionally the intervals for supplementation (before and during pregnancy) were noted.

A statistically significant reduction in the likelihood of ASD was seen in women who supplemented with Folic Acid and/or a Multivitamin Supplement before pregnancy when compared with women who did not supplement either before or during pregnancy.  This is consistent with other studies which showed maternal Folic Acid supplementation 4 weeks prior to conception and 8 weeks into the pregnancy had a reduction in the risk of offspring with ASD.

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) is well known for its benefits in the reduction of neural tube defects, like spina bifida in newborns, in addition to its support for reductions in developmental problems like placental abnormalities and heart defects.  Also a mother’s Folic Acid level during pregnancy has been associated with cognitive functioning in their offspring.

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Choline,-An Underused, Essential Nutrient

CholineCholine is an essential vitamin-like nutrient that is useful for helping the body to maintain optimal health.  Only recently has this vital nutrient gained attention for its role in supporting healthy liver function, prenatal development, brain and heart health and athletic performance and recovery.  As a matter of fact Choline is the most recent nutrient to receive an RDI (reference daily intake) from the FDA.  Choline was classified as an essential nutrient in 1998 by the Institute of Medicine.  This important nutrient is not as readily available through our foods as originally thought and approximately 90% of all Americans are not meeting IOM’s (Institue of Medicine) recommended daily intakes of 425 mg for adult women and 550 mg for adult men.

Choline helps cleanse the liver of fats that can accumulate in this organ.  This in turn helps maintain normal liver function.  This is important since today almost 40% of the population now has NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).  Growing obesity levels is a key factor in the rise of this disease.  Without adequate levels of Choline fat transport out of the liver slows down and fat accumulates in the liver causing damage.  In healthy adults deprived of Choline for 42 days between 77% and 80% developed signs of liver dysfunction according to one study.  This damage did reverse itself once the participants were given a high-choline diet.

Choline, an essential building block of cells, is needed in larger quantities during pregnancy.  Pregnant women use twice the recommended levels of Choline, however only about 10% of pregnant women meet these higher levels.  Growing evidence link Choline, like folic acid, to the prevention of neural tube defects in newborns.  One study found a 2.4-fold higher risk of neural tube defects in participants with low blood levels of Choline during mid-pregnancy.  Additionally, Choline seems to lower cortisol levels and may reduce the baby’s response to stress.  It looks like Choline makes Omega-3 DHA more available to the prenatal brain supporting healthier cognitive development.  Pre-Eclampsia risks (onset of high blood pressure during pregnancy) have been reduced during the third trimester of pregnancy with Choline supplementation.

Choline has shown benefits for lowering homocysteine levels.  Homocysteine is an inflammatory marker associated with greater risks for heart disease, stroke, cancer, bone fractures and cognitive decline.  Choline converts homocysteine into the amino acid methionine thereby preventing the building up of homocysteine in the body.

Choline supports faster communication between muscle fibers and the brain which helps support additional muscle recovery after repetitive motion exercise which boosts overall workout performance.  Choline also helps in the optimization and synthesis of nitric oxide.  Nitric Oxide increases the flow of nutrients and oxygen into the muscles increases pump during exercise.  Active people are a greater risk of Choline depletion ultimately causing a reduction in performance and the breakdown of muscle cells to support adequate Choline supplies to the brain.

Food sources of Choline are not typically a part of most American diets.  Egg yolks and Beef liver are examples of Choline-rich foods.  Salmon, broccoli, peanuts, brussel sprouts and chicken also contain Choline but in smaller amounts and do not provide the amount of Choline needed in a day making supplementation a must.

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Vitamins May Have Larger Role in Halting Brain Decline

Vitamin B is for BrainA new review claims folate and related B Vitamins play a role in slowing down brain function decline as well as playing a role in age-related depression.  These findings look at certain B Vitamins as being equally as successful in supporting the reduction in the risk of mental and cognitive disorders which occur with aging, as nutrients like Omega-3 Essential Fatty acids as well as polyphenols like Resveratrol.  Researchers believe these B Vitamins have the ability to improve the quality of life for the elderly.

Researchers concluded that folate and Vitamin B12 play essential roles in the long term management of dementia and age-related depression.  Inconsistencies of vitamin experiments coming from uncertain study design and methodology were identified by the research team.  B Vitamins and their role in supporting a healthier cognitive function in the aging process received more interest than B Vitamins and their role in age-related depression.

Over 46 million people worldwide experience some form of dementia and it is believed that this number will increase by over 65% by the year 2026.  Although the role of nutrients in supporting brain health is often underestimated nutrients are never fully discounted as being an effective means to aid in improving cognition in ageing.

Researchers are recommending that future studies use some form of imaging technology to confirm effective nutritional interventions.

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Vitamin B3 May Benefit Those with Parkinson’s Disease

Brain Boosting B Vitamins and Parkinson's DiseaseAccording to researchers individuals with a specific type of Parkinson’s disease (PD) may benefit from increasing their intact of Vitamin B3 (Niacin).

Fruit flies that had a mutated form of the gene (PINK1) that usually protects cells from mitochondrial malfunction due to stress were studied by researchers.  These flies received food supplemented with niacin.  These flies were found to have a reduced number of faulty mitochondria when compared with flies that were fed a regular non supplemented diet.  Additionally the niacin prevented the flies from losing existing neurons.

Cells are prevented from clearing out their mitochondria when there are mutations in the PINK1 gene.  When these mutated genes are accumulated neurons cannot get enough energy and die.  These damaged mitochondria also release toxic molecules that can damage genes encoded with DNA.  Researchers concluded “This study strengthens the therapeutic potential for Vitamin B3/niacin-based dietary interventions in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease”.  Prior studies have suggested a relationship between high dietary levels of niacin and a reduction in the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease exists.

Further research is planned.

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Certain B Vitamins Could Protect Against Air Pollution Risk

Air Pollution B VitaminsResearchers say a daily intake of B Vitamins may help reduce the consequences of air pollution on the epigenome, which consists of a group of chemical changes to the DNA of an organism and can alter gene expression and are hereditary.  The modification of DNA can occur as a natural process of tissue differentiation and development or can be changed as a response to environmental exposures.

A small group of individuals participated in this trial and randomly received a B vitamin supplement, containing 1 mg of Vitamin B12, 50 mg of Vitamin B6 and 2.5 mg of Folic Acid, or a placebo.  Blood levels were taken at the onset of the study.  Participants were than exposed to a totally encompassing amount of pollution containing a particulate matter less than PM2.5, an air pollutant that when levels in the air are high is a concern for people’s health.  PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air reducing visibility and causing the air to be hazy.  The group supplementing with the B Vitamin supplement did not see the “epigenetic changes which included an alteration to methylation of genes involved in mitochondrial oxidative energy metabolism” which was seen in the group given the placebo.

Researchers believe further studies focusing on heavily polluted environments are critical to confirm the outcomes seen in the study.

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Vitamin B’s Women’s Benefits: Supplementation Boosts Convention Yeast Infection Treatment RCT Finds

B VitaminsAccording to a new study supplementing with Vitamin B along with doing the conventional treatment can help treat complicated cases of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC).  VVC is a fungal infection caused by the Candida species, the second major cause of vaginitis in women, with the first major cause being bacterial vaginitis.  75% of women are infected with VVC at least once in their life prior to menopause.  5% of these women experience VVC on a recurrent basis.

Over 150 women with VVC participated in this study and were randomly assigned into groups as follows: Group A (received a suppository and oral antifungal) Group B (received a suppository and a vaginal cream) and Group C (received a suppository, vaginal cream and a Vitamin B Complex supplement).  Patients in Group C (92.73%) saw a significantly higher rate of treatment success, percentage of patients with recovery, marked effective and improvement, in comparison to Groups A (73.47%) and B (79.63%).  The recovery rate alone was also higher in Group C (72.73%) compared with Group A (61.22%) and Group B (62.96%).

Researchers concluded the Supplementing with Vitamin B Complex might be an effective additional therapy for treating complicated VVC.

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