New research from Karolinska Institutet shows that omega-3 fatty acids in dietary supplements can cross the blood brain barrier in people with Alzheimer’s disease, affecting known markers for both the disease itself and inflammation. The findings are presented in the Journal of Internal Medicine, and strengthen the evidence that omega-3 may benefit certain forms of this seriously debilitating disease.
Washington, D.C., December 16, 2013—In response to an editorial, “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,” published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association representing the dietary supplement industry, issued the following statement:
Statement by Steve Mister, President & CEO, CRN:
“The editorial demonstrates a close-minded, one-sided approach that attempts to dismiss even the proven benefits of vitamins and minerals. It’s a shame for consumers that the authors refuse to recognize the real-life need for vitamin and mineral supplementation, living in a fairy-tale world that makes the inaccurate assumption that we’re all eating healthy diets and getting everything we need from food alone.
We would not suggest that vitamin supplements are a panacea for preventing chronic disease, but we hope the authors would agree that there is an appropriate place for supplements. Given that government research repeatedly demonstrates that the typical consumer diet is falling short on critical nutrients, vitamin supplements are an appropriate option to meet those needs.
With regard to safety issues, the USPSTF draft recommendation, the basis for which comes from a study in the same issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, did not identify safety concerns for vitamins at nutritional doses. Specifically, several scientific authorities have dismissed the concerns raised by the editorial for vitamin E, including this USPSTF report, which states “The USPSTF found adequate evidence that supplementation with vitamin E has little or no significant harm.” The concerns around beta carotene are isolated to high doses in smokers, and are not a concern for the majority of consumers taking a multivitamin; we would however recommend that smokers pay strict attention to their beta-carotene intake under the advice of their doctor. The evidence does not indicate any real health risk for multivitamin use.
Further, the authors attempt to ignore the very real benefits for reducing the risk of cancer and cataracts found in the Physicians’ Health Study II. These findings are even more impressive by the fact that the benefits were found in a well-nourished population, and we haven’t yet begun to explore the potential benefits for most Americans who are not eating a healthy diet and have nutrient inadequacies.
So we agree enough is enough. Stop the reductionist approach to nutritional research. Stop insinuating there is evidence of harm. Stop ignoring the scientific evidence that demonstrates there is value to getting your essential nutrients. There is plenty of scientific evidence that recognizes that vitamin and mineral supplements have a role in good health for all Americans.”
Washington, D.C., December 16, 2013—In response to a study, “Long-Term Multivitamin Supplementation and Cognitive Function in Men: The Physicians’ Health Study II,” published today in The Annals of Internal Medicine, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association representing the dietary supplement industry, issued the following statement:
Statement by Duffy MacKay, N.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN:
“We all need to manage our expectations about why we’re taking multivitamins. Research shows that the two main reasons people take multivitamins are for overall health and wellness and to fill in nutrient gaps. Science still demonstrates the multivitamin works for those purposes, and that alone provides reason for people to take a multivitamin.
Although this study did not find benefit in cognitive function, two other recently released arms of the Physicians’ Health Study II did find benefit in the specific study population in reducing the risk of cancer and cataracts. Further, these findings come from a well-nourished population, raising the question of whether they would be more pronounced among most Americans who are not eating a healthy diet and who do have nutrient inadequacies.
While people should not expect that multivitamins in isolation can prevent disease, the fact that an affordable and convenient addition of a multivitamin to your daily health regimen may provide benefits on top of filling nutrient gaps makes it a smart choice in combination with other healthy habits.”
If the end goal of both the medical and nutritional fraternity fields is healthier, happier populations, it is difficult not to pour scorn on the latest work from te American College of Physicians (ACP) for slapping another clumsy brick into a dodgy, medically-biased wall of food supplement bashing.
Population well being = “Normal foods” + drugs when the food don’t work. Supplements don’t figure into this equation. It’s bonkers.
It should be remembered that the responsible supplements industry does not say supplements should replace food – it is more a pragmatic realization that foods simply do not cut the nutritional mustard for a great number of people and food supplements can help. It’s kinda simple really…
ACP’s analysis misses this point and should therefore be discounted as the irrelevant piece of work it is. If only it hadn’t done and garnered so much skewed attention…
Shane Starling, Senior Editor, NutraIngredients
A head injury can lead immune-system brain cells to go on “high alert” and overreact to later immune challenges by becoming excessively inflammatory – a condition linked with depressive complications, a new animal study suggests.
The findings could help explain some of the midlife mental-health issues suffered by individuals who experience multiple concussions as young adults, researchers say. And these depressive symptoms are likely inflammation-related, which means they may not respond to common antidepressants.
An added complication is that aging already increases brain inflammation. So on top of normal aging concerns, people who have had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience added inflammation caused by magnified immune responses to so-called “secondary challenges,” such as a second head injury, infections or other stressors.
We are pleased to announce that the Brain Health and Education Research Institute has been granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status as a public charity by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Contributions to the Institute are deductible under section 170 of the US Code.
Soldiers who suffer mild brain injuries from blasts have long-term changes in their brains, a small new study suggests.
Diagnosing mild brain injuries caused by explosions can be challenging using standard CT or MRI scans, the researchers said. For their study, they turned to a special type of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging.
The technology was used to assess the brains of 10 American veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who had been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries and a comparison group of 10 people without brain injuries. The average time since the veterans had suffered their brain injuries was a little more than four years.
One of the most common complications associated with traumatic brain injuries is the risk of dangerous blood clots that can form in the circulatory system elsewhere in the body.
For patients with traumatic injuries, the body forms blood clots which can break loose and travel to the lungs or other areas, causing dangerous complications.
New research shows that using blood-thinning drugs to treat patients with traumatic brain injuries reduces the risk of life-threatening blood clots without increasing the risk of bleeding inside the brain.
DR. LEWIS COMMENTS: This finding is extremely significant to the concept of using omega-3s following brain injury. Potent blood thinners used in this protocol (heparin and Lovenox) completely block the enzymes responsible for allowing the blood to clot, thus preventing deep vein thromboses that can result in worsening of the patient’s condition or death. Omega-3s potentiate the body’s natural anti-clotting abilities rather than blocking enzymatic processes AND add the ability to modulate neuroinflammation, decrease apoptosis (cell death), and start synaptogenesis (building of new neuron synapses).
Ironically, most doctors will not use omega-3s, mostly out of ignorance, but almost always because they cite that high doses of omega-3s decrease the ability of blood to clot and increase a patient’s risk of bleeding – a risk that is theoretical, but never been shown in any clinical study to be a clinical issue. Yet these same doctors almost immediately put their ICU patients on potent pharmaceutical blood thinners that increase the risk far greater than that of omegas. Now here is a study to show that even that risk has been overstated. The major barrier as to why omega-3s couldn’t be used following TBI is no longer valid.
A randomized placebo-controlled pilot trial scheduled to appear in the Jan 2014 issue of Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that taking omega-3 fatty acids and alpha lipoic acid as dietary supplements may help Alzheimer’s patients.