Vitamins don’t make Girl Scout cookies healthful
Researchers remain unsure whether it is high levels of homocysteine, low levels of acetylcholine, or some other factor that leads to the development of Alzheimer’s. Whatever the case, however, the 2010 study was the first to directly showed that increasing B vitamin levels might have a clinical effect. “B vitamins lower homocysteine, which directly leads to a decrease in GM atrophy, thereby slowing cognitive decline,” the researchers wrote. New analysis strengthens findings One of the weaknesses of the original analysis, however, was that researchers could not prove that the observed improvements in memory were related to the decreased rate of brain shrinkage. In the new study, researchers conducted a more advanced analysis of the original data and found that the effect of the B vitamins was actually much greater than they had in initially thought: Among those taking the vitamins, brain shrinkage was reduced by an astonishing 90 percent, not just 50 percent. “I’ve never seen results from brain scans showing this level of protection,” said brain imaging expert Paul Thompson, who heads the world’s largest brain scan database at the UCLA School of Medicine’s Imaging Genetics Center.
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Particularly if its the only claim to health fame they can make. And its one of several reasons to be suspicious of government attempts to engineer our eating habits through bans, taxes and other restrictions. There are the perennial proposals for soda taxes and the New York ban on selling sodas bigger than a certain size (which was tossed out in court). Food is complicated stuff. Apple juice is right up there with soda in sugar content and isn’t a significant source of vitamins or minerals. So what parameters do we use to define junk food? Government restrictions on particular foods will lead many food producers to rejigger their formulas to escape new regulations.
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Get your vitamins from your plate!
A study this year in the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine analysed the use of supplements among a large sample of American adults. We found half of US adults use dietary supplements, most commonly a multivitamin and mineral supplement, says the lead author, Regan Bailey, a dietitian and nutritional epidemiologist in the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health. Bailey adds: Our study reveals that adults use supplements primarily for their assumed health benefits, yet there remains a lack of sufficient research on this. Interestingly and somewhat predictably, Baileys research showed that the adults studied tended to report eating more healthily, practising moderation with alcohol, exercising and abstaining from smoking. Another important concern raised by Baileys study is only a quarter of the supplements taken by adults were recommended by their health-care provider. This can be dangerous because of potential interactions of supplements, prescribed medications and other therapies. Your health-care provider should be asking about your supplement use, but if they dont, bring it up.
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