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Vitamin News: Good & Not So Good!

Posted Oct 05 2010 2:08pm
If you’ve been loading up on vitamins to combat a number of  age-related conditions, this week there is both encouraging and discouraging news. Here’s what you need to know.
By Colette Bouchez

Feeling a little down in the dumps? Try increasing your intake of OJ – or any food rich in Vitamin C.  The reason? New studies show this common nutrient could be a mood booster!
In research just published in the journal Nutrition, doctors from McGill Univeristy in Canada found that vitamin C could improve mood , even in acutely ill hospitalized patients.
Lead researcher Dr. John Hoffer recently said, "Patients are rarely given vitamin supplements. Most physicians are simply unaware of the problem. Subclinical deficiencies of vitamin C and D have each been linked to psychological abnormalities, so we examined that aspect in our clinical trial.”
And, in fact, the trial proved that not only are many more patients than expected low on vitamins C and D, but that increasing levels of Vitamin C could make an important difference in mood.
Indeed, using an objective scale of mood determination, researchers found as much as a 34% increase in mood after supplementation of just 500 mg, twice daily with results becoming evident in just days. Vitamin D, while important for other reasons, did not appear to impact mood.What researchers aren’t certain of, however,  is whether or not the mood boosting effects are the same in people who aren’t deficient in vitamin C – or if the effects are limited to those who are.  But either way it can’t hurt to pump up your vitamin C intake, particularly as we head into cold and flu season. Why does this matter?First, there is good evidence to show that keeping C levels high could help your immune system ward off some colds and flu viruses.  But more importantly, studies show that when we are ill  the body pulls vitamin C away from our tissues and redirects it into our immune cells, where it's needed to fight off infections.  While this is a good thing,  depending on our body's supply it could leave other tissues, organs and cells literally starving for this nutrient. Making matters worse: Since blood levels of this nutrient are high (remember, it's there, it's just all concentrated in your immune cells) there is not likely to be any sign of deficiency - making it a difficult problem to diagnose. Bottom line: You could be short on vitamin C and not even know it! The way to get around all of this: Take a multi vitamin for sure. But even more important is to load up on foods rich in vitamin C such as citris fruits like oranges, grapefruits and lemons, as well as strawberries. Veggies high in vitamin C include tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and green peppers.  This will help keep your natural supply of vitamin C high enough that your body can use it to fight off those colds and flus - and still have enough left over for other functions. Thanks For The Memories: B Vitamins May Not Help! As good as the news is about Vitamin C, there is less stellar findings to report about B vitamins and their role in cognitive function, particularly protection against memory loss. In a new study published this week in the journal Neurology, researchers from the University of Western Australia found that B vitamins appear to not  play as  significant a role in protecting your memory as once thought. This is particularly true if you have high blood pressure, a condition that has linked to memory loss. Indeed, after a two year study of men aged 75 or older – all diagnosed with hypertension –  doctors concluded that supplementation with B  vitamins  played almost no role in reducing the risk of dementia. “The results of this trial indicate that the use of vitamins B6, B12 and folate for two years does not change the rate of cognitive decline amongst men with hypertension aged 75 years or older,” concluded the researchers. It’s important to note however, that this  finding is in direct conflict with another study released last week showing B vitamins may indeed help with cognitive impairment such as memory loss by reducing levels of homocysteine – an amino acid thought to play a role in cognitive function. So who’s right? Australian study author Dr. Andrew Ford offered this explanation: “The most economical explanation for our findings… is that elevated plasma homocysteine is not a risk factor but merely a marker that reflects underlying common processes responsible for  dementia.... and that homocysteine-lowering treatment with B-vitamins does not affect the long term cognitive function of people at risk.” In short, if the research released this week  is correct, elevated homocysteine levels are not the cause of, but rather only the body’s response to  inflammation linked to memory loss. So, reducing levels isn’t going to make much of a difference on a long term basis. And indeed this is what the new study found: While men who took supplements of vitamins B6, B12 and folate experienced a  temporary increase in their ability to recall information and in their attention span, the improvements were just that - temporary with no long lasting effects over time. Indeed, on  a long term basis these B vitamins appeared to have little benefit in terms of mortality or in protecting against the development of dementia. What the study did not show, however, was whether or not these nutrients might help those already diagnosed with dementia. And indeed, there is research showing that once dementia has set in,  B vitamins could help slow the progress of memory loss and may even help improve temporary day to day functions, particulary if a nutrient deficiency exists.   This is particularly important since as we age we lose the ability to pull vitamin B12 from our foods, so even if we are eating a good diet we can still come up short on B12.  In this case, high potency B12 supplements, as well as supplements of B6 and folic acid may indeed help those who have already suffered clinical memory loss. For the latest health, beauty and style advice for women over 40 subscribe to RedDressDiary - It's Free! And be sure to check out CheapChicDiary.com for money saving beauty and style tips!
Copyright by ElleMedia Network 2010 - All Rights Reserved. In addition to US Copyright, the text of this RedDressDiary article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. All formatting and style elements of this page are not available under this license, and Colette Bouchez retains all rights in those elements. The owners and creators of this blog may or may not directly or indirectly benefit from products mentioned or advertised on this blog.


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