Fats & Oils
Good, Bad, & Confusing
To the point!
Fats & oils, a health topic that is very conflicting, confusing, and as with many health related issues, has many elements of the seven deadly sins. Hopefully, this bit of information will help you to make better-informed choices about the foods you eat that have fats & oils in them.
Polyunsaturated (oils), contrary to some expert opinion, are considered bad by many experts because they are prone to oxidation and free radical production. Processed polyunsaturated oils are extremely pro-inflammatory because of their high reactivity to heat and light.
Soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grape seed oil, safflower oil and other similar oils, have a lot of polyunsaturated fats. These are in almost all the baked goods (breads, crackers, chips, cookies, cakes, etc.) that we buy off the supermarket shelves. It seems we are always stoking the inflammation fire in our bodies! As a side note, white or processed flour and sugar are very proinflammarory as well, so we are being exposed to a triple whammy!
It is this inflammatory production that causes or is related to health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and other degenerative diseases.
* A confusing but important distinction is polyunsaturated fat sources that are not processed (whole foods like nuts and seeds) are okay, and you need these foods in your diet.
Most vegetable oils that are used in cooking are heavily refined during processing and this makes them pro-inflammatory even before you cook with them.
Saturated fats are now becoming considered the healthiest oils to cook with by some experts. Old science and new science supports this recommendation as they are much more stable and less inflammatory than polyunsaturated oils.
The order of stability of fat when exposed to heat and light from the least stable to the most stable is as follows: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated.
Tropical oils such as palm oil and coconut oil (even animal fats such as butter) are best for cooking. They have very little polyunsaturated fat and are mostly composed of natural saturated fats. These are least reactive to heat and light and, therefore, the least pro-inflammatory in your body after cooking.
Many professionals feel that saturated fats are bad for you, however, according to other expert opinion; the reality is they are actually neutral in most instances.
The best cooking or baking fats are generally butter or tropical oils such as palm oil or coconut oil. Olive oil is okay for lower cooking temperatures since it’s mostly monosaturated. This makes it moderately stable. The mostly polyunsaturated oils such as soybean, grape seed, cottonseed, safflower, etc., are the least healthy for cooking or baking.
Look for the bad oils in the list of ingredients in the foods you buy in the store (i.e. breads, cookies & crackers) and avoid them.
Top choices for healthy cooking oils include: Virgin coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, (only low temp cooking), and real butter (grass fed if possible). One expert shared that extra-virgin olive oil was not as good as once thought because it had chlorophyll in it which went bad sooner making the oil rancid (free radicals).
*Bear in mind that even too much of a good thing can be bad as well. Moderation is the key. Too much of anything is going to make you fat and unhealthy. As a matter of fact, some experts believe that over consumption is one of our main problems. From observation and personal experience, I tend to agree. Your body converts carbohydrates and protein into fat when in excess in the diet, and we all have a tendency to over eat.
Open attached link: The Truth About Saturated Fats. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/08/17/saturated-fat1.aspx
Words to the wise, however, do not use this information as an excuse to go animal with your diet, pun intended. There’s plenty of sound evidence that whole food, plant based diets are far healthier for you. It does; however, seem to leave a little wiggle room for animal fats. Oils are oils, however, whether animal or plant based and you can get plant-based saturated fats without animals. Plants are more likely to have higher levels of polyunsaturated fats whereas animal fats are higher in saturated and monounsaturated fat. This isn’t a rule, though. For instance, olive oil and canola oil are mostly monounsaturated fat, and coconut and palm oils are mostly saturated fat. As long as the fat is from a natural source and is not cooked or refined it is fairly healthy.
Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are all considered macronutrients. All three are sources of energy. Proteins and carbs can, however, be converted to and stored as fat when consumed in excess. If you eat more food in general, than you need, your body will become a fat hoarder. That means, in effect, that you are unable to part with your obsession to eat.
A few interesting excerpts from The Truth About Saturated Fats:
One reason that polyunsaturates cause so many health problems is that they tend to become oxidized or rancid when subjected to heat, oxygen, and moisture, as in cooking and processing. Rancid oils are characterized by free radicals, that is, single atoms or clusters with an unpaired electron in an outer orbit. These compounds are extremely reactive chemically.
They have been characterized as “marauders” in the body for they attack cell membranes and red blood cells and cause damage in DNA/RNA strands, thus triggering mutations in tissue, blood vessels and skin. Free radical damage to the skin causes wrinkles and premature aging; free radical damage to the tissues and organs sets the stage for tumors; free radical damage in the blood vessels initiates the buildup of plaque.
Extraction: Oils naturally occurring in fruits, nuts and seeds must first be extracted. In the old days this extraction was achieved by slow-moving stone presses. But oils processed in large factories are obtained by crushing the oil-bearing seeds and heating them to 230 degrees.
The oil is then squeezed out at pressures from 10 to 20 tons per inch, thereby generating more heat. During this process the oils are exposed to damaging light and oxygen. In order to extract the last 10% or so of the oil from crushed seeds, processors treat the pulp with one of a number of solvents, usually hexane. The solvent is then boiled off, although up to 100 parts per million may remain in the oil. Such solvents themselves are toxic and also retain the toxic pesticides adhering to seeds and grains before processing begins.
Elevated triglycerides in the blood have been positively linked to proneness to heart disease, but these triglycerides do not come directly from dietary fats; they are made in the liver from any excess sugars that have not been used for energy. The source of these excess sugars is any food containing carbohydrates, particularly refined sugar and white flour. (Think About It !)
The Worst Cooking Oils of All Polyunsaturated fats are the absolute WORST oils to use when cooking because these omega-6-rich oils are highly susceptible to heat damage.
This category includes common vegetable oils such as: Corn, Soy, Safflower, Sunflower, Canola
Damaged omega-6 fats are disastrous to your health, and are responsible for far more health problems than saturated fats ever were.
Trans fat is the artery-clogging, highly damaged omega-6 polyunsaturated fat that is formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening.
I strongly recommend never using margarine or shortening when cooking. I guarantee you you’re already getting far too much of this damaging fat if you consume any kind of processed foods, whether it be potato chips, pre-made cookies, or microwave dinners…
Trans fat is the most consumed type of fat in the US, despite the fact that there is no safe level of trans fat consumption, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine.
Trans fat raises your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels while lowering your HDL (good cholesterol) levels, which of course is the complete opposite of what you want. In fact, trans fats — as opposed to saturated fats — have been repeatedly linked to heart disease. They can also cause major clogging of your arteries, type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems.
Pure Virgin Coconut Oil is the most resistant to heating damage, but also a great source of medium chained triglycerides and lauric acid.
So, cleaning these oils out of your kitchen cupboard is definitely recommended if you value your health.
The emerging medical consensus is that many of our modern day illness(s), as we traverse through our lives, are related to chronic low-grade inflammation of our systems, leading ultimately and indubitably, sooner or later, to a myriad of illnesses that health science calls degenerative diseases. Inflammation, free radical damage and oxidative stress lead to disease, and are implicated in cancer, heart disease, strokes, MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, arthritis, fibromyalgia, premature aging and almost any debilitating, degenerative condition you can name.
The sad irony is that many times these illnesses are avoidable, yet, for some reason we continue lifestyle choices that are unhealthy, in spite of the evidence to our detriment!
One reason for the above puzzling behavior on our part might be that we have been conditioned (duped) into believing that check-ups and visits to the doctor for treatment are the main pathways to health. Healthcare and health insurance are harmonious discords, better known as an oxymoron. Health care is actually illness care, and health insurance is illness insurance. It’s wonderful that we have good healthcare, but the reality is that our healthcare system is woefully inept at effectively treating degenerative diseases.
Much of our mind-set, both individuals and the healthcare system, is what I call the Redliner Mentality. We’ve all heard of hitting the redline when it comes to running an engine too hard, whereby if it continues it will become severely damaged. Well, that’s our “healthcare” mentality. We’ve also all heard the story of the patient who just had a health physical, passed with flying colors and died the next day of a heart attack, stroke, or was diagnosed with cancer a short time later, etc. That’s because our screening process for illness and disease, for the most part, only picks up on illness and disease when it is present or has redlined. Many diseases are insidious and only become apparent after redlining. In other words, most degenerative diseases develop by means of slow degradation until you finally present with the full-blown disease or an event such as a heart attack or stroke. In most instances, once the signs and symptoms of cancer are present, you have cancer! You can’t depend on seeing the doctor!
Another reason we fail to stay healthy is we believe in the system without question. The way our social system communicates and processes information to the public is thought to be straightforward and transparent; it’s not. Given just this topic, fats & oils, the data remains complicated and confusing.
There’s a multitude of things that contribute to chronic inflammation. Food is a primary source and one that we have the ability to have a great deal of control over. Cooking oils are some of the primary suspects and a good place to start making positive changes to your diet.
So, in fact, to better ensure your health, you must stop being only a dependent, passive recipient of treatment and become a responsible, proactive steward of your own health as well as your family’s health!
In closing, with respect to the “seven deadly sins” comment; one must always remain vigilant, critically thinking about the data you are given, with respect to your health. That goes for this information I just put forth to you as well. The entities and conglomerates that influence what you are told about what you consume, even in the name of good, can and will pursue the profit margin over your well-being.
One man’s meat is another man’s poison…
The above idiom can be quite literal, as what you consume can and does adversely affect how you feel, and your health. The problem is we don’t realize it or simply ignore it!
The negative response to the food we eat can range from anaphylactic shock to fatigue and pain that seemingly comes from nowhere. Many food sensitivities symptoms are latent, and do not present until hours or evens days later, thus difficult to associate with what you’ve consumed.
There remains a significant population of individuals with chronic or recurrent symptoms that remain in a nonspecific pain or syndrome category, without a specific diagnosis. These individuals experience multiple signs & symptoms, such as, weight gain, fatigue, signs of ADD/ADHD, skin disorders, migraines, digestive problems and so on…
The cause of these symptoms many times is manifested by what we consume. For some reason, our body’s immune system adversely reacts to certain foods we eat or drink. This is sometimes called Food Intolerance. Some experts call the reaction leukocytosis, which is an abnormally high level of white blood cell production. Chronic leukocytosis is very detrimental to ones health and now thought to be a leading cause of degenerative illnesses like cardiovascular disease, arthritis, dementia etc…
What slips through the cracks in healthcare are the people who just feel sick and tired but have no specific diagnosis. They get treated for their symptoms but the root cause of their symptoms goes undetected and many times are given a “surrogate” diagnosis. I call this group, Prodromal People. People with generalized nonspecific signs & symptoms that may lead to a disease or illness.
This is commonly seen in practice, many times with a mechanical back or neck problem but also with the other signs and symptoms that fit no pattern. A great deal of the time it’s the foods and beverages that these patients are consuming that are causing their nonspecific illness symptoms.
The foods and processing/preservative chemicals causing this disturbance can be identified with lab testing in many instances. Once identified and managed, these signs and symptoms resolve.
Blood testing for food and chemical sensitivity is called the ALCAT Test
Go to ALCAT.COM.
Ask me about the ALCAT Tests.
Dr. James E Greathouse Jr., Chiropractic Physician
According to the current study by Rejnmark and colleagues, maintenance of adequate vitamin D status may be necessary for many physiologic functions, beyond that of the classic actions of vitamin D on bone and mineral metabolism. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have linked reduced vitamin D status with a number of cancers, adverse cardiovascular and immunologic outcomes, and increased all-cause mortality rates
This systematic review identifies individual patient data and trial-level meta-analyses to assess mortality risk among participants randomly assigned to either supplementation with vitamin D alone or vitamin D with calcium.
Check with your attending physician.
A Soda a Day Raises CHD Risk by 20%
March 12, 2012 (Boston, Massachusetts) — Sugary drinks are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) as well as some adverse changes in lipids, inflammatory factors, and leptin, according to a new analysis of men participating in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, reported by Dr Lawrence de Koning (Children’s Hospital Boston, MA) and colleagues online March 12, 2012 in Circulation .
“Even a moderate amount of sugary beverage consumption — we are talking about one can of soda every day — is associated with a significant 20% increased risk of heart disease even after adjusting for a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors,” senior author Dr Frank B Hu (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA) told heartwire . “The increased risk is quite substantial, and I think has important public-health implications given the widespread consumption of soda, not only in the US but also increasing very rapidly in developing countries.”
The increased risk is quite substantial, and I think has important public-health implications given the widespread consumption of soda.
The researchers did not find an increased risk of CHD with artificially sweetened beverages in this analysis, however. “Diet soda has been shown to be associated with weight gain and metabolic diseases in previous studies, even though this hasn’t been substantiated in our study,” says Hu. “The problem with diet soda is its high-intensity sweet taste, which may condition people’s taste. It’s still an open question whether diet soda is an optimal alternative to regular soda; we need more data on this. ”
Hu says water is the best thing to drink, or coffee or tea. Fruit juice is “not a very good alternative, because of the high amount of sugar,” he adds, although if diluted with water, “it’s much better than a can of soda,” he notes.
And Hu says although the current results apply only to men, prior data from his group in women in the Nurses’ Health Study [from 2009] were comparable, “which really boosts the credibility of the findings.”
Inflammation could be a pathway for impact of soda upon CHD risk
Hu and colleagues explain that while much research has shown a link between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and type 2 diabetes, few studies have looked at the association of these drinks with CHD.
Hence, they analyzed the associations of cumulatively averaged sugar-sweetened (eg, sodas) and artificially sweetened (eg, diet sodas) beverage intake with incident fatal and nonfatal CHD (MI) in 42 883 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up study. Beginning in 1986 and every two years until December 2008, participants answered questionnaires about diet and other health habits. A blood sample was provided midway through the study.
There were 3683 CHD cases over 22 years of follow-up. Those in the top quartile of sugar-sweetened-beverage intake had a 20% higher relative risk of CHD than those in the bottom quartile (RR 1.20; p for trend < 0.001) after adjustment for age, smoking, physical activity, alcohol, multivitamins, family history, diet quality, energy intake, body-mass index, preenrollment weight change, and dieting.
Adjustment for self-reported high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and diagnosed type 2 diabetes only slightly attenuated these associations, which suggests that drinking soda “may impact on CHD risk above and beyond traditional risk factors,” say the researchers.
Consumption of artificially sweetened drinks was not significantly associated with CHD (multivariate RR 1.02; p for trend=0.28).
Intake of sugar-sweetened drinks, but not artificially sweetened ones, was also significantly associated with increased triglycerides and several circulating inflammatory factors — including C-reactive protein, interleukin 6 (IL-6), and tumor-necrosis-factor receptor 1 (TNFr1) — as well as decreased HDL cholesterol, lipoprotein (a) (Lp[a]), and leptin (p < 0.02).
“Inflammation is a key factor in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease and cardiometabolic disease and could represent an additional pathway by which sugar-sweetened beverages influence risk,” say Hu et al.
Cutting consumption of soda is one of easiest behaviors to change
Hu says that one of the major constituents of soda, high-fructose corn syrup, is subsidized in the US, making such drinks “ridiculously cheap” and helping explain why consumption is so high, particularly in lower socioeconomic groups.
Doctors should be advising people with heart disease or at risk to cut back on sugary beverages; it’s almost a no-brainer.
“Doctors should set an example for their patients first,” he stresses. “Then, for people who already have heart disease or who are at high risk, physicians should be advising them to cut back on sugary beverages; it’s almost a no-brainer, like recommending that they stop smoking and do more exercise. The consumption of sugary beverages is a relatively easy behavior to change.”
And although this particular study included mostly white subjects and there are few data on the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with the consumption of soda in people of other ethnicities, there are data on its effect on type 2 diabetes in these groups, he says.
“It has been shown for minority groups — such as African Americans and Asians — that they are more susceptible to the detrimental effects” of sugary drinks on diabetes incidence, he notes.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
- de Koning L, Malik VS, Kellogg MD et al. Sweetened beverage consumption, incident coronary heart disease and biomarkers of risk in men. Circulation 2012; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.067017. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org.
Heartwire © 2012 Medscape, LLC
Vitamin D Supplementation: An Update
Christine Gonzalez, PharmD, CHHC
Posted: 11/11/2010; US Pharmacist © 2010 Jobson Publishing
Abstract and Introduction
An estimated 1 billion people worldwide, across all ethnicities and age groups, have a vitamin D deficiency.[1–3] This is mostly attributable to people getting less sun exposure because of climate, lifestyle, and concerns about skin cancer. The 1997 Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) values for vitamin D, initially established to prevent rickets and osteomalacia, are considered too low by many experts. DRI values are 200 IU for infants, children, adults up to age 50 years, and pregnant and lactating women; 400 IU for adults aged 50 to 70 years; and 600 IU for adults older than 70 years. Current studies suggest that we may need more vitamin D than presently recommended to prevent chronic disease. Emerging research supports the possible role of vitamin D in protecting against cancer, heart disease, fractures and falls, autoimmune diseases, influenza, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Many health care providers have increased their recommendations for vitamin D supplementation to at least 1,000 IU. As a result, more patients are asking their pharmacists about supplementing with vitamin D.
Vitamin D decreases cell proliferation and increases cell differentiation, stops the growth of new blood vessels, and has significant anti-inflammatory effects. Many studies have suggested a link between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of cancer, with the strongest evidence for colorectal cancer. A Creighton University study found that postmenopausal women given 1,100 IU of vitamin D3 (plus calcium) versus placebo were 77% less likely to be diagnosed with cancer over the next 4 years. In the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS), subjects with high vitamin D concentrations were half as likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer as those with low concentrations.
Some studies have shown less positive results, however. The Women’s Health Initiative found that women taking 400 IU of vitamin D3 (plus calcium) versus placebo did not have a lower risk of breast cancer. Many critics have argued that this dosage of vitamin D is too low to prevent cancer. A 2006 Finnish study of male smokers found that those with higher vitamin D concentrations had a threefold increased risk for pancreatic cancer, with cigarette smoking not found to be a confounding factor. A 2009 U.S. study of men and women (mostly nonsmokers) did not confirm these results, finding no association between vitamin D concentrations and pancreatic cancer overall, except in subjects with low sun exposure. In this subgroup, higher versus lower vitamin D concentrations had a positive association with pancreatic cancer. A definitive conclusion cannot yet be made about the association between vitamin D concentration and cancer risk, but results from many studies are promising.
Several studies are providing evidence that the protective effect of vitamin D on the heart could be via the renin-angiotensin hormone system, through the suppression of inflammation, or directly on the cells of the heart and blood-vessel walls. In the Framingham Heart Study, patients with low vitamin D concentrations (<15 ng/mL) had a 60% higher risk of heart disease than those with higher concentrations. The HPFS found that subjects with low vitamin D concentrations (<15 ng/mL) were two times more likely to have a heart attack than those with high concentrations (>30 ng/mL). In another study, which followed men and women for 4 years, patients with low vitamin D concentrations (<15 ng/mL) were three times more likely to be diagnosed with hypertension than those with high concentrations (>30 ng/mL). As is the case with cancer and vitamin D, more studies are needed to determine the role of vitamin D in preventing heart disease, but the evidence thus far is positive.
Fractures and Falls
Vitamin D is known to help the body absorb calcium, and it plays a role in bone health. Also, vitamin D receptors are located on the fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are the first to respond in a fall. It is theorized that vitamin D may increase muscle strength, thereby preventing falls. Many studies have shown an association between low vitamin D concentrations and an increased risk of fractures and falls in older adults.
A combined analysis of 12 fracture-prevention trials found that supplementation with about 800 IU of vitamin D per day reduced hip and nonspinal fractures by about 20%, and that supplementation with about 400 IU per day showed no benefit. Researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University have examined the best trials of vitamin D versus placebo for falls. Their conclusion is that “fall risk reduction begins at 700 IU and increases progressively with higher doses.” Overall, the evidence is strong in support of supplementing with vitamin D to prevent fractures and falls.
Autoimmune Diseases and Influenza
Since vitamin D has a role in regulating the immune system and a strong anti-inflammatory effect, it has been theorized that vitamin D deficiency could contribute to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune thyroid disease. Scientists have suggested that vitamin D deficiency in the winter months may be the seasonal stimulus that triggers influenza outbreaks in the winter. Numerous trials have evaluated the association between vitamin D and immune-system diseases.
A prospective study of white subjects found that those with the highest vitamin D concentrations had a 62% lower risk of developing MS versus those with the lowest concentrations. A Finnish study that followed children from birth noted that those given vitamin D supplements during infancy had a nearly 90% lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes compared with children who did not receive supplements.22 In a Japanese randomized, controlled trial, children given a daily vitamin D supplement of 1,200 IU had a 40% lower rate of influenza type A compared with those given placebo; there was no significant difference in rates of influenza type B. More studies of the influence of vitamin D on immunity will be emerging, as this is an area of great interest and it remains unclear whether there is a link.
Type 2 Diabetes and Depression
Some studies have shown that vitamin D may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, but few studies have examined the effect of vitamin D on depression. A trial of nondiabetic patients aged 65 years and older found that those who received 700 IU of vitamin D (plus calcium) had a smaller rise in fasting plasma glucose over 3 years versus those who received placebo. A Norwegian trial of overweight subjects showed that those receiving a high dose of vitamin D (20,000 or 40,000 IU weekly) had a significant improvement in depressive symptom scale scores after 1 year versus those receiving placebo. These results need to be replicated in order to determine a correlation between vitamin D and the risk of diabetes or depression.
Only a few foods are a good source of vitamin D. These include fortified dairy products and breakfast cereals, fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks. Besides increasing sun exposure, the best way to get additional vitamin D is through supplementation. Traditional multivitamins contain about 400 IU of vitamin D, but many multivitamins now contain 800 to 1,000 IU. A variety of options are available for individual vitamin D supplements, including capsules, chewable tablets, liquids, and drops. Cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin D, but in large doses there is a risk of vitamin A toxicity.
The two forms of vitamin D used in supplements are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). D3 is the preferred form, as it is chemically similar to the form of vitamin D produced by the body and is more effective than D2 at raising the blood concentration of vitamin D. Since vitamin D is fat soluble, it should be taken with a snack or meal containing fat. In general, 100 IU of vitamin D daily can raise blood concentrations 1 ng/mL after 2 to 3 months (TABLE 2). Once the desired blood concentration is achieved, most people can maintain it with 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily. Even though dosages up to 10,000 IU daily do not cause toxicity, it generally is not recommended to take more than 2,000 IU daily in supplement form without the advice of a health care provider. Individuals at high risk for deficiency should have a vitamin D blood test first; a dosage of up to 3,000 to 4,000 IU may be required to restore blood concentrations.
Table 2. Dosing and Blood Concentrations
||Expected Increase in Blood Concentration
Source: Reference 30.
Vitamin D supplements may interact with several types of medications. Corticosteroids can reduce calcium absorption, which results in impaired vitamin D metabolism. Since vitamin D is fat soluble, orlistat and cholestyramine can reduce its absorption and should be taken several hours apart from it. Phenobarbital and phenytoin increase the hepatic metabolism of vitamin D to inactive compounds and decrease calcium absorption, which also impairs vitamin D metabolism.
While considerable research supports the importance of vitamin D beyond bone health, further trials are required before broad claims can be made about vitamin D and prevention of chronic disease. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is reviewing the research on vitamin D and plans to report in late 2010 regarding any updates to the DRIs for vitamin D (and calcium). Specifically, the IOM will consider the relation of vitamin D to cancer, bone health, and other chronic diseases. An important study, the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial, was launched in early 2010 to determine whether 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 and 1,000 mg of EPA (eicosopentaenoic acid) plus DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) daily can lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other diseases. This randomized trial, which will enroll about 20,000 healthy men and women, should provide more insight on vitamin D supplementation.
As the number of people with vitamin D deficiency continues to increase, the importance of this hormone in overall health and the prevention of chronic diseases is at the forefront of research. The best evidence for the possible role of vitamin D in protecting against cancer comes from colorectal cancer studies. Evidence also is strong for the potential role of vitamin D in preventing fractures and falls. At this time, further studies are needed to evaluate the role of vitamin D in protecting against heart disease, autoimmune diseases, influenza, diabetes, and depression.
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- Lau AH, How PP. The role of the pharmacist in the identification and management of secondary hyperparathyroidism. US Pharm. 2007;32(7):62–72.
- Cannell JJ. Vitamin D pharmacology. www.vitamindcouncil.org/vitaminDPharmacology.shtml. Accessed August 30, 2010.
US Pharmacist © 2010 Jobson Publishing
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a Washington, D.C., group that promotes preventive medicine and a vegan diet, unveiled a billboard Monday near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the advisory: “Warning: Hot dogs can wreck your health.”
The billboard features a picture of hot dogs in a cigarette pack inscribed with skull and crossbones. It aims to increase awareness of a link between colorectal cancer and hot dogs.
Hot dogs, like cigarettes, should come with a “warning label that helps racing fans and other consumers understand the health risk,” said Susan Levin, the committee’s nutrition education director.
Other health experts disagree.
Although hot dogs are certainly not health food, neither are they toxic, if consumed in moderation, they say.
“It is not necessary to eliminate consumption of red or processed meat; rather the message is that these foods should not be the mainstay of your diet,” American Cancer Society guidelines state.
About twice a month, Kimberly Hunt indulges. She harbors no illusions that hot dogs are good for her, but she’s not worried about the risks.
“Not any more than any other processed foods that we eat,” said Hunt, as she finished off lunch in downtown Indianapolis. “There’s a lot of things that are going to cause cancer. Are hot dogs on the top of my list? No.”
Hot dogs are low in nutritional value, said Dr. Jesse Spear, an internal medicine physician with St. Vincent Medical Group in Fishers, Ind. They’re high in salt, which can lead to hypertension and heart disease.
Should we avoid them at all costs?
That’s not what Spear tells patients. Instead, he advises them to eat a generally healthy diet — more fruits and vegetables, less processed meats.
“I don’t personally tell people never to eat hot dogs, because I guess I’m just realistic enough to know that people will still consume them to some degree,” he said.
But there’s something about a car race that encourages hot dog consumption. Last year, more than 1.1 million hot dogs were sold during the Indianapolis 500.
So this year, the Physicians Committee decided to target another Speedway event, Sunday’s Brickyard 400, with its $2,750 billboard.
The strong warning is needed to make people think twice about eating hot dogs and all processed meats, Levin said. That includes deli meats, ham, sausage, bacon and pepperoni.
“A hot dog a day could send you to an early grave,” said Levin, a registered dietitian. “People think feeding their kids these foods (is) safe, but (it’s) not.”
The research linking colorectal cancer and processed meat is convincing, says a 2007 report by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research.
Just one 50-gram serving of processed meat — about the amount in one hot dog — a day increases the risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21 percent, the study found.
George Hanlin has his consumption down to one or two a month, as part of a plan to eat healthier. Monday, he contemplated the data linking hot dogs to health risks.
“Will it keep me from never eating hot dogs? No,” Hanlin said. “But there’s no question I will try to limit it a lot more.”
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Posted 07/26/2011 12:57 PM | Updated 07/26/2011 1:19 PM
My relatively educated opinion is yes.
Good web site for learning about supplements…
Consider a few of these issues:
The soil we grow crops in today is likely a real issue with respect to the vitality of the food we eat. By vitality I mean nutrient value. There is ample evidence that our farm soils are depleted of much of the nutrients (primarily minerals) that our food sources used to give us. Plants can generated much of the vitamins we need but they cannot make minerals. Even plants need minerals to make healthy vitamin rich fruits and veggies. (Scroll down to “soil depletion”)
I’ve read some studies of the loss of nutrient value in selected veggies and fruits and it would amaze you as to how much loss there is today as compared to yesteryear. Many if not most of the crops are harvested prematurely. Vine ripening is where much of the nutrient production takes place.
So even if, and that’s a big if, you are getting the recommended daily servings of veggie, fruits, beans and grains; it’s likely the essential nutrient value isn’t what it should be. Many health professionals feel that many signs and symptoms that we experiences are due to subtle marginal deficiencies in essential nutrients and these issues contribute to slow progressive degenerative illness.
Bear In Mind
Supplements work synergistically; meaning that most of the time a single essential nutrient will not help you if the synergists aren’t available. For Example: Iron needs folic acid, pyridoxine, ascorbate, tocopherol, cobalamin and zinc to work efficiently in the body. (p 228 OSN Colgan) So popping a single this or that vitamin likely will not benefit you.The whole business of supplements is quite complex and much too involved for a simple newsletter such as this to give individual advise. We all have different needs. However, reasonable supplementation will likely benefit your health, physically and mentally. If you take medication or have special needs you must consult your health care advisor to rule out contraindications to certain supplements.
My basic premise is that if you do not have the foundation materials available, it doesn’t matter what you are doing i.e. glucosamine sulphate for joints, St John’s Wort for depression, etc… Without the
essential nutrients you will never achieve your optimum health potential.
Standard Dosage Recommendation
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) were originally set up by the National Academy of Sciences during World War II as general guidelines for feeding the country’s soldiers. These recommendations have grown to be guidelines for the general public and were last revised in 1997 and given a new name. RDAs are now known as Daily Values (DVs). Another term you may see is DRVs (Daily Reference Value), which are dietary guidelines for protein, carbohydrates, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, fiber, sodium, and potassium. Another new term is RDIs (Reference Daily Intake), which are guidelines for essential vitamins and minerals. Daily Values (DVs) are made up of both DRVs and RDIs.
Some nutritionists believe that the DV has not kept pace with the latest nutritional research and believe that some of the recommendations may be thirty years out of date. The DV’s have particularly come under fire regarding the recommended level of antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C, E, and beta carotene. Some nutritionists believe the DV’s for these health-promoting nutrients should be at least two to five times the current values. On the other hand, the DV’s may be too high for some individuals. They were initially figured for young, active, military males, which means they may be less appropriate for the very young, very old, or for women. A valid, but unavoidable criticism of the concept behind the DV is that it does not respect the biochemical individuality of each person.
The DV’s are based upon measures of physical health, not mental or psychological. Thus, the RDAs do not reflect the suspicion that some emotional and behavioral difficulties of school children could be the result of nutritional deficiencies.
UL: Tolerable Upper Intake Level UL is the highest level of daily nutrient from dietary and supplement
sources that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects for almost all individuals in a population. As intake increases above the UL, the potential for risk of adverse effects increases. Exceeding dosages over the UL for a long period of time is not recommended, but may be beneficial and tolerated by some individuals in some circumstances. Generally, there is no need to take supplements at the level of UL. Always be aware of a product’s UL and how much of that product you are taking.
While dietary supplements can indeed fill in a lot of gaps in your nutritional needs, they will never replace the role of a good, balanced, and varied diet. Time has attested the benefits of eating
lots of fruits, vegetables, fiber and lean protein sources. And this should always be your top priority before any efforts at vitamin supplementation.
What’s A Good Product?
When shopping for vitamin supplements, look for “USP” on the label. This means the stands of the U.S. Pharmacopeia have been meet under exacting laboratory conditions. Not all quality vitamins will carry this mark, but it can help you determine if a brand you are not familiar with is reputable, especially if the price is remarkably low.
NSF Dietary Supplement Certification NSF’s Dietary Supplement Certification Program is designed to help consumers and health care practitioners identify supplement products that have been tested by a third-party organization. Product formulations and labels are tested to ensure: Products contain the identity and quantity of ingredients listed on the label. Products are free of any undeclared contaminants. Testing for NSF Dietary Supplement Certification is voluntary and available to all manufacturers. Standards for certification were developed by NSF and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI); known as NSF/ANSI 173.
NSF Contact Information
Address NSF International
P.O. Box 130140
789 N. Dixboro Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48113-0140, USA
Telephone Number 800-NSF-MARK
Fax Number (734) 827-6108
A good vitamin supplement should contain 100% of the Daily Value of Vitamins D, B1, B2, B3, B5, B12 and folic acid. There should be a minimum of 20 micrograms of vitamin K as well. There should be 5,000 IU or less of vitamin A and 40-50% of that vitamin A should be beta carotene.
Choose a mineral supplement that contains 100% of the Daily Value for copper, zinc, iodine, selenium and chromium. It can also contain some magnesium. Additionally, minerals should come in a “chelated” form for better absorption!
The American Medical Association
“Healthy adult men and healthy adult nonpregnant, nonlactating women consuming a usual, varied diet do not need vitamin supplements. Infants may need dietary supplements at given times, as may pregnant and lactating women. Occasionally, vitamin supplements may be useful for people with unusual lifestyles or modified diets, including certain weight reduction regimens and strict vegetarian diets. “Vitamins in therapeutic amounts may be indicated for the treatment of deficiency states, for pathological conditions in which absorption and utilization of vitamins are reduced or requirements increased, and for certain on-nutritional disease processes. “The decision to employ vitamin preparations in therapeutic mounts clearly rests with the physician. The importance of medical supervision when such amounts are administered is emphasized. Therapeutic vitamin mixtures should be so labeled and should not be used as dietary supplements.” The American Medical Association reviewed the statement which follows. They stated that this statement was consistent with their statement.
The author of this NebFact recommends that if a typical adult wants to take a supplement, that supplement should be a multivitamin- multimineral, one that contains vitamins and minerals at U.S. RDA
levels. Many multivitamin-multimineral supplements containing 100 percent U.S. RDA levels are on the market. The consumption of this level of supplement will not be harmful to health and may or may not be helpful. The best advice is to obtain vitamins and minerals by eating a wide variety of foods. If an individual chooses to take a multivitamin- multimineral supplement, a balanced diet also should be consumed. This is because knowledge is inadequate as to all of the essential nutrients needed by adults — all required nutrients may not be present in the supplement.
Perhaps the best summary is by Dr. William A. Albrecht, Chairman of the Department of Soils at the University of Missouri, who said: “A declining soil fertility, due to a lack of organic material, major
elements, and trace minerals, is responsible for poor crops and in turn for pathological conditions in animals fed deficient foods from such soils, and that mankind is no exception.” Dr Albrecht goes further to unequivocally lay the blame: “NPK formulas, as legislated and enforced by State Departments of Agriculture, mean malnutrition, attack by insects, bacteria and fungi, weed takeover, crop loss in dry weather, and general loss of mental acuity in the population, leading to degenerative metabolic disease and early death.”
1992 Earth Summit Statistics 1992 Earth Summit Report* indicate that the mineral content of the
world’s farm and range land soil has decreased dramatically.
Percentage of Mineral Depletion From Soil During The Past 100 Years,
North America 85% **
South America 76%
* You may remember the 1992 Earth Summit by the fact that President Bush wouldn’t sign any of the treaties. ** Some US farms are 100% depleted and some are 60% depleted, the average is 85% depletion as compared to 100 years ago. This is worse than in any other country in the world because of the extended use of fertilizers and “maximum yield” mass farming methods.
“In the future, we will not be able to rely anymore on our premise that the consumption of a varied balanced diet will provide all the essential trace elements, because such a diet will be very difficult to obtain for millions of people.”
Dr. Walter Mertz, U.S. Department of Agriculture, told to congress in 1977. Dr. Linus Pauling the two-time Nobel Prize winner states that: “You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency. “Mineral insufficiency and trace elements insufficiency are more likely to occur than are vitamin insufficiency states. Because of differing geologic conditions, minerals and trace elements may be scarce in the soils of certain regions and rich in those of other regions. Thus, you can live in some areas, eat a perfectly ‘balanced’ diet and still develop mineral deficiencies or trace element deficiencies that can only be averted through dietary change or supplementation.” The Doctor’s Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia In Dr. Jensen’s book, Empty Harvest, he talks about how many of our illnesses are correlated with our improper stewardship of the land. Our immunity very much parallels the immunity of the land. Of special mention is that trace minerals are very depleted in our soils. Veterinarians have long since known this, which is why there are some 45 trace minerals added to dog and livestock food. They would much rather spend a few cents everyday than hundreds of dollars on vet bills! Dr. Charles Northen, MD researcher reports that, “In the absence of minerals, vitamins have no function. Lacking vitamins, the system can make use of the minerals, but lacking minerals vitamins areuseless.” Gaylord Hauser, from his book, “Diet Does It”, concurs by stating, “Minerals are certainly as important to us as vitamins, yet minerals are overlooked, neglected and their value underestimated.”
So, there you have it!
All the body systems & organs & tissue; nervous, skeletal, muscle, hormonal, immune, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular etc…, require essential nutrients to function at optimum levels.
To Your Health
Dr. James E. Greathouse Jr.