Analysis Finds No Safety Concerns For Calcium Supplements and Heart Health

calciumA new study finds no associations between supplementing with Calcium and increase risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Over 6,200 women and men participated in the MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) cohort study. Participants ranged in age from 45 years old to 84 years old. Data was collected from over 6 sites within the United States.   Analysis of the data from this study showed no impact of calcium supplementation on CVD event risks or heart attacks.  Researchers identified 208 heart attacks and 641 CVD events over 10 years of monitoring this cohort.  However, no association between these events and calcium intake were observed.

The safety of the mineral Calcium had been called into question recently.  Even though there is a clear benefit for Calcium and bone health, certain medical journals reported adverse cardiovascular effects caused by too much intake of calcium in different populations leading to fears about Calcium supplementation.  Plaque that forms in diseased arteries is mostly made up of Calcium.  Some researchers speculated that was directly related to spiking blood Calcium levels with supplementation.  This study supports the safety of this mineral.

Osteoporosis, often described as a silent killer effects over 9 million Americans according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.  48 million Americans have low bone mass which increases there risk for Osteoporosis.  Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation could save over $1.08 billion per year in healthcare costs.



Multivitamins Can Safely Improve Nutrient Supply and Overcome Problems of Inadequacy

multiple vitaminA new review paper has found that a multivitamin/minerals supplement taken daily can help fill nutrient deficiencies without any concern for long-term safety issues.

Randomized and controlled studies where participants supplemented with at least nine vitamins and 3 minerals at 100% of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) were reviewed and researchers concluded that long term use of these MVM for over 10 years and more was safe.

Many Americans continue to fall short of reaching the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for many key nutrients even though there has been potential to fill these nutritional gaps.  According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data 31% of individual fall below the EAR for Vitamin C, 35% for Vitamin A, 39% for Calcium, 46% for Magnesium, 67% for Vitamin E and 74% for Vitamin D.  9 nutrients are listed as shortfall nutrients: Vitamins A,D,E and C, Potassium, Dietary Fiber, Choline, Magnesium and Calcium.  4 nutrients are listed as “Nutrients of Public Health Concern: Vitamin D, Dietary Fiber, Potassium and Calcium.

Researchers stressed more consumer education is needed even among healthcare practitioners.  Even with a healthy diet, nutrient gaps may occur.  Supplementing with a multivitamin/mineral supplement has been shown to reduce these gaps and improve nutritional status measures.  Overcoming these nutritional gaps can aid in counteracting potential health issues that may be caused by inadequate nutritional uptake.


Study Shows 3 Carotenoid Formula Boosts Visual Performance for Non-Impaired Subjects

carotenoidsA new long term trial has concluded that supplementation with lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin, 3 of the carotenoids, may improve visual performance in subjects who had normal vision at the start of the study.  This trial was called the Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST).

105 individuals with an average age of 48 equally split between men and women were divided into a supplementation and placebo groups.  All participants had normal vision at the onset of the study.  However, participants did have a lower than normal amount of macular pigment (MP) at the beginning of the study.  The supplement group received a capsule containing 10 mg of lutein, 10 mg of meso-zeaxanthin and 2 mg of zeaxanthin daily with food.  The study lasted a year.

Changes in overall MP were measured and ranked against changes in contrast specificity which is a better measure of visual performance than visual acuity which is the usual standard used.  In this CREST trial blood serum levels of all 3 of the carotenoids rose over time and peaked around the 6 month benchmark and then declined slightly after that time.  The MP however showed a continual steady rise.

Researchers concluded that the results of this study show that these carotenoids could improve the visual quality of life for the average person.



Only 1/5th of Global Population Meet “Ideal” Vitamin E Levels

Vitamin EA new review has shown that only about one fifth of the population (21%) worldwide is receiving the recommended intake of Vitamin E which increases the risk for conditions affecting the cardiovascular system, cognitive functions and the immune system.

Published literature describing serum Vitamin E concentrations and Vitamin E intake levels between the years 2000 and 2012 was studied.  A total of 178 articles consisting of 132 single studies were included in this review.  Researchers used an RDA of 15 mg/day and an estimated average requirement (EAR) of 12 mg/day of Vitamin E and applied this standard to all populations with a minimum of 14 years of age.  It was found that 82% and 61% of mean and median data points were below the RDA and EAR respectively.

There has been an increased interest in Vitamin E research as of late.  It is believed, that a change in dietary food consumption in developing countries worldwide is a contributing factor to the reduction in Vitamin E status.

Further research is warranted.




Cranberry Beverage Fared Better Than Placebo in Latest Study on UTI’s

cranberries and UTI'sA new study found consumption of cranberry juice reduced urinary tract infections (UTI’s) in women with a history of these types of infections.  Due to recent rises in antibiotic resistance, urinary tract infections, which are extremely common, have grown more difficult to treat.

Over 350 women participated in this study after having met the eligibility requirements which required individuals to have had a recent history of at least 2 UTI’s which had been treated by a health care professional within the last year.  185 women were assigned cranberry juice while the remainders of the participants were assigned to receive a placebo. Participants were prohibited from consuming blueberries or any product derived in any form from blueberries or cranberries.  Also participants were not allowed to consume probiotics or any products containing probiotics.  The study lasted 24 weeks.

A 39% reduction in UTI’s was measured during the study period in the group consuming the Cranberry beverage when compared to the placebo.  In previous clinical trials on UTI’s and cranberries conflicting results were seen but it is believed the majority of the negative studies may have been using substandard cranberry products.


Omega-3 May Reduce Heart Patients’ Hospital Stay

Omega 3 reducyses hospital staA new analysis suggests Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplemented beforehand reduced cardiac surgery patients hospital stay over 2 days.  Complications of post operative cardiac complications, like irregular heartbeats, were also reduced with supplementation of Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Data from over 1000 patients participating in 11 randomized controlled trials was reviewed in this meta-analysis.  Although primary outcomes (length of stay (LOS) in the intensive care unit (ICU)) were not affected with Omega 3 supplementation, secondary outcomes (LOS and postoperative atrial fibrillation) were affected.

Reductions in hospital stays were associated with the Omega-3 group having reductions in postoperative atrial fibrillation and Omega-3’s anti-inflammatory and anti-arrhythmic properties.

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Heightened Liver Cancer Risk Linked to Low Selenium Levels

SeleniumA recent study found an increased risk of developing cancer of the liver may be linked with low levels of the trace mineral selenium.  Western diets and lifestyles were blamed for this selenium deficiency.

Data from the EPIC cohort study was analyzed to provide data for this study.  Over 500,000 men and women between the ages of 25 and 70 participated in the EPIC cohort study between the years 1992 and 2000.  Study participants filled out questionnaires regarding lifestyle information like activity levels, medical and smoking histories and education.  Blood levels of selenium were also collected.  A control group was established by utilizing data from 121 individuals with liver cancer and 140 individuals with biliary tract and bladder cancer.  Equal numbers of individuals who were cancer free were matched against the first group.

Observational and experimental evidence found low intakes of the trace mineral selenium contributed to the development of many cancers.  Selenium is known to protect cells from oxidative stress and this role may account for the outcome of this study.

A growing body of data shows increasing rates of liver cancer in industrialized countries due to unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habits.  Treatment options may be limited since liver cancers are usually diagnosed at later stages.

Further research is planned.

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