Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Dietary supplement


BACKGROUND: Vitamin K2 contributes to bone and cardiovascular health. Therefore, two vitamin K2 homologues, menaquinone-4 (MK-4) and menaquinone-7 (MK-7), have been used as nutrients by the food industry and as nutritional supplements to support bone and cardiovascular health. However, little is known about the bioavailability of nutritional MK-4. To investigate MK-4 and MK-7 bioavailability, nutritional doses were administered to healthy Japanese women. FINDINGS: Single dose administration of MK-4 (420 mug; 945 nmol) or MK-7 (420 mug; 647 nmol) was given in the morning together with standardized breakfast. MK-7 was well absorbed and reached maximal serum level at 6 h after intake and was detected up to 48 h after intake. MK-4 was not detectable in the serum of all subjects at any time point. Consecutive administration of MK-4 (60 mug; 135 nmol) or MK-7 (60 mug; 92 nmol) for 7 days demonstrated that MK-4 supplementation did not increase serum MK-4 levels. However, consecutive administration of MK-7 increased serum MK-7 levels significantly in all subjects. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that MK-4 present in food does not contribute to the vitamin K status as measured by serum vitamin K levels. MK-7, however significantly increases serum MK-7 levels and therefore may be of particular importance for extrahepatic tissues.

Concepts: Health, Nutrition, Nutrient, Vitamin, Essential nutrient, Dietary supplement, Food, Dietary mineral


OBJECTIVE: To identify reasons why eligible families are not accessing free ‘Healthy Start’ vitamin supplementation (providing vitamins A, C and D) in England. DESIGN: Qualitative study using in-depth interviews. SETTING: 13 primary care trusts in England. PARTICIPANTS: Purposive sample of 15 Healthy Start coordinators, 50 frontline health and children’s professionals and 107 parents. RESULTS: Vitamin take-up was low across all research sites, reported as below 10% of eligible beneficiaries for free vitamins. Reasons identified by both parents and professionals included (1) poor accessibility of vitamins, (2) low promotion of the scheme by health professionals, (3) a lack of awareness among eligible families, and (4) low motivation among mothers to take vitamins for themselves during pregnancy or for children under 4 years old. CONCLUSIONS: Low uptake rates can be explained by poor accessibility of vitamins and lack of awareness and motivation to take vitamin supplements among eligible families. Universal provision (at least for pregnant women) and better training for health professionals are identified as potential solutions worthy of further research and evaluation.

Concepts: Family, Pregnancy, Nutrition, Vitamin, Dietary supplement, Educational psychology, Folic acid, Mother


BACKGROUND: Use of multivitamin supplements during the pre-HAART era has been found to reduce viral load, enhance immune response, and generally improve clinical outcomes among HIV-infected adults. However, immune reconstitution is incomplete and significant mortality and opportunistic infections occur in spite of HAART. There is insufficient research information on whether multivitamin supplementation may be beneficial as adjunct therapy for HIV-infected individuals taking HAART. We propose to evaluate the efficacy of a single recommended daily allowance (RDA) of micronutrients (including vitamins B-complex, C, and E) in slowing disease progression among HIV-infected adults receiving HAART in Uganda. METHODS: We are using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial study design. Eligible patients are HIV-positive adults aged at least 18 years, and are randomized to receive either a placebo; or multivitamins that include a single RDA of the following vitamins: 1.4 mg B1, 1.4 mg B2, 1.9 mg B6, 2.6 mcg B12, 18 mg niacin, 70 mg C, 10 mg E, and 0.4 mg folic acid. Participants are followed for up to 18 months with evaluations at baseline, 6, 12 and 18 months. The study is primarily powered to examine the effects on immune reconstitution, weight gain, and quality of life. In addition, we will examine the effects on other secondary outcomes including the risks of development of new or recurrent disease progression event, including all-cause mortality; ARV regimen change from first- to second-line therapy; and other adverse events as indicated by incident peripheral neuropathy, severe anemia, or diarrhea.DiscussionsThe conduct of this trial provides an opportunity to evaluate the potential benefits of this affordable adjunct therapy (multivitamin supplementation) among HIV-infected adults receiving HAART in a developing country setting.Trial registrationClinical Trial Registration-URL: Unique identifier: NCT01228578.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Immune system, Dietary supplement, Anemia, Folic acid, Vitamin B12


There is currently much interest in biological active compounds derived from natural resources, especially compounds that can efficiently act on molecular targets, which are involved in various diseases. Astaxanthin (3,3'-dihydroxy-β, β'-carotene-4,4'-dione) is a xanthophyll carotenoid, contained in Haematococcus pluvialis, Chlorella zofingiensis, Chlorococcum, and Phaffia rhodozyma. It accumulates up to 3.8% on the dry weight basis in H. pluvialis. Our recent published data on astaxanthin extraction, analysis, stability studies, and its biological activities results were added to this review paper. Based on our results and current literature, astaxanthin showed potential biological activity in in vitro and in vivo models. These studies emphasize the influence of astaxanthin and its beneficial effects on the metabolism in animals and humans. Bioavailability of astaxanthin in animals was enhanced after feeding Haematococcus biomass as a source of astaxanthin. Astaxanthin, used as a nutritional supplement, antioxidant and anticancer agent, prevents diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders, and also stimulates immunization. Astaxanthin products are used for commercial applications in the dosage forms as tablets, capsules, syrups, oils, soft gels, creams, biomass and granulated powders. Astaxanthin patent applications are available in food, feed and nutraceutical applications. The current review provides up-to-date information on astaxanthin sources, extraction, analysis, stability, biological activities, health benefits and special attention paid to its commercial applications.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Nutrition, In vivo, Dietary supplement, In vitro, Nutraceutical, Haematococcus pluvialis, Astaxanthin


Increased cellular ATP levels have the potential to enhance athletic performance. A proprietary blend of ancient peat and apple extracts has been supposed to increase ATP production. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of this supplement on athletic performance when used during 12 weeks of supervised, periodized resistance training.

Concepts: Adenosine triphosphate, Dietary supplement, Training, Practice


Purpose Inconsistent findings have been reported of a link between the use of one-carbon metabolism-related B vitamins and lung cancer risk. Because of the high prevalence of supplemental vitamin B use, any possible increased association warrants further investigation. We examined the association between long-term use of supplemental B vitamins on the one-carbon metabolism pathway and lung cancer risk in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort, which was designed specifically to look at supplement use relative to cancer risk. Methods A total of 77,118 participants of the VITAL cohort, 50 to 76 years of age, were recruited between October 2000 and December 2002 and included in this analysis. Incident, primary, invasive lung cancers (n = 808) were ascertained by prospectively linking the participants to a population-based cancer registry. The 10-year average daily dose from individual and multivitamin supplements were the exposures of primary interest. Results Use of supplemental vitamins B6, folate, and B12 was not associated with lung cancer risk among women. In contrast, use of vitamin B6 and B12 from individual supplement sources, but not from multivitamins, was associated with a 30% to 40% increase in lung cancer risk among men. When the 10-year average supplement dose was evaluated, there was an almost two-fold increase in lung cancer risk among men in the highest categories of vitamin B6 (> 20 mg/d; hazard ratio, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.25 to 2.65) and B12 (> 55µg/d; hazard ratio, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.32 to 2.97) compared with nonusers. For vitamin B6 and B12, the risk was even higher among men who were smoking at baseline. In addition, the B6 and B12 associations were apparent in all histologic types except adenocarcinoma, which is the type less related to smoking. Conclusion This sex- and source-specific association provides further evidence that vitamin B supplements are not chemopreventive for lung cancer and may be harmful.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Lung cancer, Vitamin, Dietary supplement, Folic acid, Vitamin B12, B vitamins


Dietary supplements consisting of beta-carotene (precursor to vitamin A), vitamins C and E and the mineral magnesium (ACEMg) can be beneficial for reducing hearing loss due to aminoglycosides and overstimulation. This regimen also slowed progression of deafness for a boy with GJB2 (CONNEXIN 26) mutations. To assess the potential for treating GJB2 and other forms of hereditary hearing loss with ACEMg, we tested the influence of ACEMg on the cochlea and hearing of mouse models for two human mutations: GJB2, the leading cause of childhood deafness, and DIAPH3, a cause of auditory neuropathy. One group of mice modeling GJB2 (Gjb2-CKO) received ACEMg diet starting shortly after they were weaned (4 weeks) until 16 weeks of age. Another group of Gjb2-CKO mice received ACEMg in utero and after weaning. The ACEMg diet was given to mice modeling DIAPH3 (Diap3-Tg) after weaning (4 weeks) until 12 weeks of age. Control groups received food pellets without the ACEMg supplement. Hearing thresholds measured by auditory brainstem response were significantly better for Gjb2-CKO mice fed ACEMg than for the control diet group. In contrast, Diap3-Tg mice displayed worse thresholds than controls. These results indicate that ACEMg supplementation can influence the progression of genetic hearing loss.

Concepts: Vitamin, Dietary supplement, Cochlea, Hearing impairment, Cochlear implant, Audiogram, Hearing


Ensuring that a woman is well-nourished, both before and during pregnancy, is crucial for the health of the woman and that of the unborn child.(1) Maternal deficiency in key nutrients has been linked to pre-eclampsia, restricted fetal growth, neural tube defects, skeletal deformity and low birth weight.(1,2) Many nutritional supplements containing vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients are heavily marketed to women for all stages of pregnancy. However, much of the evidence for vitamin supplementation in pregnancy comes from studies carried out in low-income countries,(3) where women are more likely to be undernourished or malnourished than within the UK population. The challenges lie in knowing which supplements are beneficial and in improving uptake among those at most need. Here we summarise current UK guidance for vitamin supplementation in pregnancy and review the evidence behind it.

Concepts: Nutrition, Nutrient, Vitamin, Essential nutrient, Dietary supplement, Dietary mineral, Folic acid, Malnutrition


Medical research is moving toward prevention strategies during prodromal states. Postpartum blues (PPB) is often a prodromal state for postpartum depression (PPD), with severe PPB strongly associated with an elevated risk for PPD. The most common complication of childbearing, PPD has a prevalence of 13%, but there are no widespread prevention strategies, and no nutraceutical interventions have been developed. To counter the effects of the 40% increase in monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) levels that occurs during PPB, a dietary supplement kit consisting of monoamine precursor amino acids and dietary antioxidants was created. Key ingredients (tryptophan and tyrosine) were shown not to affect their total concentration in breast milk. The aim of this open-label study was to assess whether this dietary supplement reduces vulnerability to depressed mood at postpartum day 5, the typical peak of PPB. Forty-one healthy women completed all study procedures. One group (n = 21) received the dietary supplement, composed of 2 g of tryptophan, 10 g of tyrosine, and blueberry juice with blueberry extract. The control group (n = 20) did not receive any supplement. PPB severity was quantitated by the elevation in depressed mood on a visual analog scale following the sad mood induction procedure (MIP). Following the MIP, there was a robust induction of depressed mood in the control group, but no effect in the supplement group [43.85 ± 18.98 mm vs. 0.05 ± 9.57 mm shift; effect size: 2.9; F(1,39) = 88.33, P < 0.001]. This dietary supplement designed to counter functions of elevated MAO-A activity eliminates vulnerability to depressed mood during the peak of PPB.

Concepts: Amino acid, Nutrition, Dietary supplement, Neurotransmitter, Bipolar disorder, Seasonal affective disorder, Monoamine oxidase, Sadness


Prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements are commonly used, alone and together, among older adults. However, the effect of recent regulatory and market forces on these patterns is not known.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Prescription drug, United States, Dietary supplement, Over-the-counter drug, Medical prescription, Food and Drug Administration, Regulation of therapeutic goods