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Vitamin D and Mental Agility in Elders
25 Jun, 2010
Posted by: Natural Medicine In: Diet and Excercise | Eating and Lifestyle | Healthy Aging | Supplements and Herbs
By Rosalie Marion Bliss
At a time when consumer interest in health-enhancing foods is high, Agricultural Research Service (ARS)-funded scientists have contributed to a limited but growing body of evidence of a link between vitamin D and cognitive function.
Cognitive function is measured by the level at which the brain is able to manage and use available information for activities of daily life. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of age-related dementia, affects about 47 percent of adults aged 85 years or older in the United States. Identifying nutritional factors that lower cognitive dysfunction and help preserve independent living provides economic and public health benefits, according to authors.
The study, which was supported by ARS, the National Institutes of Health, and others, was led by epidemiologist Katherine Tucker with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston, Mass. Tucker collaborated with HNRCA laboratory directors Irwin Rosenberg, Bess Dawson-Hughes and colleagues.
Metabolic pathways for vitamin D have been found in the hippocampus and cerebellum areas of the brain involved in planning, processing, and forming new memories. This suggests that vitamin D may be implicated in cognitive processes.
The study involved more than 1,000 participants receiving home care. The researchers evaluated associations between measured vitamin D blood concentrations and neuropsychological tests. Elders requiring home care have a higher risk of not getting enough vitamin D because of limited sunlight exposure and other factors.
The participants, ages 65 to 99 years, were grouped by their vitamin D status, which was categorized as deficient, insufficient, or sufficient. Only 35 percent had sufficient vitamin D blood levels. They had better cognitive perform...
Vitamin E Linked to Increase Life Expectancy in Men
21 Jan, 2011
Posted by: Natural Medicine In: Healthy Aging | Men's Health | News | Supplements and Herbs
According to research from the University of Helsinki, Finland, Vitamin E may increase the life expectancy of certain groups of men. The study is published in the Age and Ageing
Several large randomized trials of humans found that vitamin E supplementation does not reduce mortality. However, the average effect on mortality in a group of people with a wide age range may mask an effect of vitamin E on the life-span.
Dr. Harri Hemila, and Professor Jaakko Kaprio, of the University of Helsinki studied the age-dependency of vitamin E effect on mortality in the large randomized trial (Alpha-Tocopherol Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study) which was conducted in Finland between 1985-1993. Their study was restricted to follow-up period over 65 years and 10,837 participants contributed to the analysis.
Among 2,284 men with dietary vitamin C intake above the median who smoked less than a pack of cigarettes per day, vitamin E extended life-span by two years at the upper limit of the follow-up age span. In the other participants, consisting of 80% of the cohort, vitamin E did not affect mortality, which shows that vitamin E is no panacea for extending life expectancy.
The researchers co...
Vitamin Supplements Reduce Deaths From Measles and Diarrhea
10 Jan, 2011
Posted by: Natural Medicine In: Children's Health | Community | Natural Healthcare | Supplements and Herbs
Vitamin A supplements are still an effective way to reduce childhood death and disease says a new study by Cochrane Collaboration researchers. The study results strongly endorse the use of vitamin A supplementation,which reduce the incidence of measles and diarrhea and ultimately save lives.
Vitamin A deficiency is a common problem in low and middle income countries. People whose diets do not include enough of the vitamin may have impaired body functions, and be more susceptible to blindness, infection and early death. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends vitamin A supplements for pregnant mothers and children. However, controversies have recently been raised regarding the effectiveness of vitamin A supplementation programmes in developing countries.
The 43 trials included in the review involved 215,633 children between six months and five years of age. All except one trial used the standard dose of vitamin A as recommended by the WHO. Overall, giving vitamin A capsules reduced the risk of death from any cause by 24% compared to placebos or usual treatment. This equates to saving the lives of almost a million vitamin A deficient children a year.
The review suggests that much of the beneficial effect vitamin A supplementation in developing countries may be related to prevention of measles and diarrhoea. “Giving vitamin A is associated with a reduction in the incidence of diarrhoea and measles, as well as the number of child deaths due to these diseases,” said Zulfiqar Bhutta, Chairman of the Division of Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan and the senior reviewer of the project. “However, the effects of supplementation on disease pathways are not well understood, so this could be a focus for further studies.”
The researchers strongly recommend continuation of vitamin ...